All About Dog Zoomies!

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Does your dog go into a frenzy after bath time? If so, they might have a case of dog zoomies. To learn more about this frenetic behavior, why it happens to your dog after a bath and other triggers, keep reading.

What Are Dog Zoomies?

Golden retriever rolling on back in green grass.
"Zoomies" is the informal term for the frenzied running some dogs do after a bath, which is also sometimes accompanied by frantic rubbing on the carpet or grass, or rolling and scratching in their beds. The official term for this, coined by biologists, is FRAP, an acronym that stands for Frenetic Random Activity Period, says The Labrador Site. Dog zoomies differ from regular running. A dog who runs happily out of the bathroom before settling down, for example, may simply be expressing happiness that bath time is over. A dog who's got the zoomies, on the other hand, will take off at full speed and keep up this frenzied behavior until they tire out.

Why Zoomies Happen After a Bath

Baths aren't the only thing that can trigger dog zoomies. Some dogs also do this after grooming or swimming, and they sometimes get triggered during play. But giving dogs a bath seems to be a frequent trigger for dogs who are prone to zoomies. No one is certain why zoomies happen to your dog after a bath or what they mean, but here are a few guesses:

  • Stress relief: Baths tend to be stressful for pups. The frenetic movements involved in zoomies might be a way for them to relieve stress by releasing their pent-up energy from their negative feelings about having a bath, suggests I Heart Dogs.
  • They don't like smelling clean: Dogs put a lot of effort into smelling like their surroundings and probably don't appreciate having the scents they've meticulously collected replaced with the smell of shampoo. The zoomies may be an attempt to escape the perfumed smell, while the accompanying rubbing and rolling might be an attempt to restore their previous scent.
  • Drying Off: You may notice your dog running around and rubbing up against furniture. While they might be trying to get back their pre-bath smell, this might be their natural method of drying out.
  • Pure joy: It's also possible that dogs who get the zoomies are simply so overjoyed at being done with bathtime — or any other trigger activities — that frantic running and rolling around is the only way to release their feelings and fully express their joy.

Should You Worry About Dog Zoomies?

Unless your dog has a medical reason for limiting physical exertion, such as a heart condition, stitches that are healing, or recovering from an injury or surgery, the zoomies aren't harmful for your pooch, says The Labrador Site. However, indoor zoomies could be destructive, especially with larger dogs. In their frenzy, dogs might knock over furniture, cause breakables to topple or tear up carpeting. If zoomies are a nuisance, you'll need to take steps to calm your frenetic pup.

What to Do About Your Zoomie Pooch

Here are a few tips to help manage your dog's zoomie tendencies:

  • Exercise before a bath: A dog who's already tired from a long walk or a vigorous game of fetch will be less likely to get the zoomies after bath time.
  • Don't chase your zooming dog: This will only increase their frenzy.
  • Take your dog outside: If you have a fenced yard with a well-maintained lawn and there's nothing you're afraid to let your clean pooch roll in, simply open the door and let the zoomies run their course outdoors.
  • Zoomie-proof your home before bath time: Prepare a room where it's safe for your pup to zoom their heart out by removing breakables and making it off-limits to any small children or more frail pets. Leave your pup's bed in the room for them to roll around in to get their zoomies out.

Zoomies may give the appearance that your dog has gone crazy, but it's completely normal dog behavior and not something you generally need to worry about. As long as nothing gets damaged, zoomies can be fun to watch, especially when you know that they'll run their course and your dog will eventually tucker themself out.

Contributor Bio

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet lover, freelance writer and novelist. She currently lives in the Ozarks with her husband and their gaggle of four-footed dependents, where she enjoys watching a wide array of wild animals in her back yard while drinking her morning coffee.