Your furry friend has been staying idle all day. Then, out of the blue, she bursts with energy and starts running around crazily. She is having the time of her life running at full speed in any direction that calls her. If you are a first time pet owner, this might make you worry. However, this type of behavior is entirely harmless and normal.
In the pet world, we call these episodes zoomies. It's an apt term for the immediate/sudden burst of energy in cats and dogs. This silly term is included with other similar silly terms for our pets:
Peets - its a combination word for paws + feet = peets
Toe beans - the little jelly bean shaped finger pads on cats.
Floofs - a generalized term for fluffiness in animals. Usually a cat or dog that is very hairy or has a long coat.
Sploot - this is where the animal lays their back legs out flat behind them (its very adorable if you ask me!).
Boops - this is an action word where you touch your animal gently and quickly. Kind of like a pat on the head or like a tap on the snoot.
Snoot - this is another word for nose.
Chonk - this is an oversized pet, but usually used as a term for a cute fat pet.
While most of the previous terms are descriptions for body parts, zoomies are quick active movements. There are some risks to this activity: breaking household items, slipping on surfaces, injuring the ACL, breaking a toenail off, etc. So, it can be a little challenging to handle your pet when zoomies occur. However, fear not, as there are several safe ways to manage zoomies.
Read on to learn more about these uncertain episodes and how you can tackle them as they occur.
What are zoomies?
A zoomie is a sudden burst of energy that your pet may display from time to time. Other common terms for this activity include frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs) or frenetic activity periods (FAPs).
It usually happens when your fun-loving pet has been restricted from play for a while. The excited behavior occurs when they finally get the chance to vent out. They tend to run all over the place and at full speed. It's a natural way for them to get their energy out and express their happiness.
In the case of cats, you may also notice their zoomies occur after a visit to the litter box. This is a very natural reaction. While dogs have been domesticated for around 30,000 years, cats were only domesticated close to 12,000 years ago. Their instincts are still in tact and can be seen when they find the urge to run away from their "stink". In the wild, this would help them avoid predators that may pick up their smell. However, our babies don't need to worry about predators, but hey, they're cute when they do it right?
Zoomies are cute, fun to watch, and great entertainment to share on Instagram and TikTok. However, for your pet's safety, it is crucial to know how to handle zoomies safely.
Are zoomies harmful?
Zoomies are not harmful but can be a nuisance if your pet is constantly running around the house or yard at high speeds. Being concerned about zoomies is normal, especially if you don't know much about this behavior. However, it's time to stop worrying and let your furry friend enjoy its energy-releasing session by giving it a safe space.
Still, if your pet starts doing them more frequently or seems to be in distress, it's worth talking to your veterinarian to rule out any potential health concerns.
Common Causes Of Zoomies in Cats and Dogs
Several aspects might lead to zoomies in your pup or cat. To safely control this condition, it is important to know its causes first.
Zoomies can be caused by a hormonal surge that typically occurs during your pet’s adolescence era. Even environmental changes like moving to a new house can also trigger the release of these chemicals in your furry friend’s body. Eventually, the high hormone levels cause a boost in energy and excitement, which can lead to zoomies. You can find pheromone diffusers to help calm your pets naturally in situations of change.
Among several causes of zoomies, boredom is highly frequent. Since cats and dogs are social animals, it's crucial for them to play around and have fun. Hence, when you leave your pet alone for long periods, it might feel bored and get restless. This can eventually lead to a build-up of energy which it releases in a burst when you are finally home.
We can correlate this factor with the hormonal surge. When your pet is under the weather, its body releases cortisol, the stress hormone. This can cause it to experience a sudden burst of energy leading to zoomies. Common reasons behind stress in pets include loud noises, environmental changes, and separation anxiety. You can manage stress with acupressure and CBD oil.
Lack of Exercise
Lack of physical activity can also lead to energetic episodes in your pets. Cats and dogs that do not get enough exercise are often the ones that go through most zoomies. It is because they have a severe build-up of energy with nowhere to vent out. When they finally do get to release it, they make the most out of it by running and jumping everywhere.
Lack of exercise also leads to chonky pets. So, it's important to monitor their weight and keep exercise a daily routine.
How do I handle zoomies safely?
It is important to handle zoomies safely to ensure the security of your pet and others around it. Here are some ways to do so:
Take Safety Precautions
When your pet has a sudden burst of energy, it can be challenging to know how to handle it. However, you can take the following precautions to prevent it from getting hurt.
Provide your pet with plenty of space to run around. A leash might not be enough for the initial zoomies. Look for a fenced in park in your area if you don't have a fenced in yard to let your dog out.
If possible, try to steer your pet away from busy areas or places with potential hazards.
Be prepared for your pet to stop and start suddenly.
Always be on your feet and catch it if it runs into something or harms itself.
Try to stay calm and let your pet burn off its energy without intervening in between.
If you are a pet loving household, you may want to think about removing breakable items from the pet's height. For cat owners, you may have already found cats tend to knock over things for fun. So, your area may already be cat safe. But just double check that nothing has been placed in their path.
Increase Their Exercise and Playtime
The best way to deal with zoomies in a healthy pet is to increase their exercise and playtime. It will help burn off some excess energy and hopefully make your furry friend less hyper.
If your pet is prone to zoomies, make sure to give them several chances to burn off energy throughout the day. It can be through regular walks, runs, or even just playful sessions in the yard. You can help your pet avoid those sudden bursts of energy with proper exercise.
Some dog breeds are more prone to zoomies than others. So if you have a high-energy breed like a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd, you'll need to up their exercise routine even more. If you can't take them for a long walk or run daily, try playing fetch or frisbee in your backyard or at the park. Other options are listed below.
Bring your dog to daycare
Have a Pet sitter come by while you are away
Have a pet camera to interact with them while you are not home. Some even have treat throwers!
Training and Mental Stimulation
Another key to handling zoomies is twofold: training and mental stimulation.
With proper training, your pet will learn when and where it is appropriate to zoom around. It will help prevent any accidental occurrences or damage to your personal belongings.
Did you know 10 minutes of mental stimulation will tire them out faster than a 30 minute walk? Mental stimulation is important for keeping your pet's zoomies and other boredom behaviors (you know the ones... chewing up the furniture and getting into the trash) under control. Providing them with plenty of toys, puzzles, and other forms of enrichment will tire it mentally and physically. This will eventually lead to a lesser number of zoomies.
Zoomies are a fun and normal part of owning a pet. However, they can also be harmful if you aren’t aware of appropriate handling ways. Hence, it’s important to know everything about this activity and ways to manage it to ensure your pup enjoys its playtime while being safe.
We hope you can handle zoomies by going through the tips we've outlined above. It's time to get ready to unleash the fun with your energetic furry companion.
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