Are Zoomies a Sign of a Happy Dog? The Surprising Truth

Key takeaways

We may love it when our dogs start racing around the house and running in circles, but what causes this behavior?

We're deep diving into the famous zoomies, exploring what they are and what causes this behavior.

We'll also offer our expert advice on observing the signs of a happy dog and an unhappy dog, so you can give your pup the best care possible.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. What are zoomies?
  3. Why do zoomies happen?
  4. What are the signs of a happy dog?
  5. What are the signs of an unhappy dog?
  6. FAQs
  7. Final thoughts

What are zoomies?

Every pet parent knows the early warning signs before their dog gets the zoomies. It may be a few barks here or there, a wagging tail, some happy dog's ears, and a little wiggle in their bum. Before long, their bouncing off the walls, climbing on furniture, and running around in circles. What's not to love?
Common causes of the zoomies reported by pet parents include:

Telling your dog you're going for a walk

Drying your dog after they become wet

Bathing your dog

But sometimes, they can seem completely random! And this is how many vets and professionals choose to describe this behavior: Frenetic Random Activity Periods, or FRAPs.
A dog running away from its owner because of the zoomies

Why do zoomies happen?

But surely there's a reason? It can't just be completely random, right? Correct! It's commonly thought that zoomies occur to release pent-up energy. So, let's look at why this can happen.

Young dogs

Many pet parents will reminisce over their excitable puppy, and this is because younger dogs are much more likely to experience the zoomies more often. And this is what makes them so loveable.
Young dogs and puppies are still getting used to the world, meaning simple things like walkies, dinner, and just life itself can cause your very happy dog to run wild in exhilaration.
This is normal dog behavior, and there's no need to worry! Instead, sit back and enjoy the laughter.

Young dogs and puppies are still getting used to the world, meaning simple things like walkies, dinner, and just life itself can cause your very happy dog to run wild in exhilaration.

A child playing with a puppy


Many dogs tend to experience the zoomies when they feel relief, excitement, or happiness. The cause of this can be different for every dog breed. For example, if you have a very food-orientated pup, like a Labrador, then dinner times may be the most common time for your furry friend to get the zoomies.
Many dogs seem to experience this when they come out of a bath or are being dried from a wet walk, which indicates the happiness and relief of stopping being wet.
Expert Insight: Every dog is different, but you can safely assume if they've got the zoomies, they're probably pretty happy!
A happy dog getting the zoomies on a walk

Excess energy

A dog's zoomies can sometimes be caused by too much excess energy. This may be because they aren't getting enough mental stimulation or physical exercise in their routine.
For example, if your pup gets the zoomies after hours in a crate, they may be signaling to you that being inactive for that long is stressful.
It's always good to research your dog breed and find out how much exercise they need. Alongside this, mental stimulation is really important. Try the following:

Invest in puzzle toys and feeders

Employ a dog walker if you don't have the time

Set aside 'playtime' with your dog

Don't leave your dog alone for long periods of time

Two people taking dogs on a walk

What are the signs of a happy dog?

So, while zoomies are normally a good indication of happy dogs, there are some other ways to tell if your pup is content. If you observe the following, then your furry friend is most likely pretty happy:

Relaxed tail position: A tail that is gently wagging, or a different relaxed tail position, shows that your dog is not stressed and is quite content. Whereas a tail between the legs or a rigid and straight tail should generally raise some concerns.

Floppy ears: It may come as a surprise, but ear shapes can help you understand your dog's mood. Floppy, relaxed ears show you that your pet is comfortable and calm. But ears that are pricked up or angled backward may indicate stress, fear, or even anger.

Relaxed body posture: A relaxed body is a sure sign of a happy dog. If your pup is rigid, unmoving, or contracted, they may be stressed or fearful.

Relaxed mouth tongue: We're used to seeing our dogs with their tongues rolling out the side of their open mouth because this is their natural position when your furry friend is relaxed and happy.

Examples of happy dog body postures

What are the signs of an unhappy dog?

Trying to understand how our dogs are feeling can be difficult. Despite them having over 100 facial expressions, we can't always tell what they want or need. Some important signs to look out for in an unhappy dog include:

Acting withdrawn: Acting withdrawn or hiding can often indicate a dog that is stressed, sick, or unhappy. Dogs naturally try to hide their weaknesses, so if they are hiding from you, they may be concealing an illness or an injury.

Eating behavior changing: If your dog is undereating or overeating more or less than usual, this may show their fight or flight instinct has been triggered. This means they may be feeling frightened or stressed.

Stiff body language: It's quite easy to tell when your dog isn't happy in a certain situation or environment. Their body will become stiff and rigid, their tail will go between their legs, and their ears will go back.

Expert Insight: Acting quickly when you pick up on these behaviors is important. If you're in doubt, take them to the vet and get some professional advice after a full checkup; you can never be too sure!
An unhappy dog diagram


Do wild animals get dog zoomies?

So, if this is normal behavior, you may be wondering whether it occurs in wild animals. The answer is yes! In fact, people have observed this behavior in all kinds of animals, from elephants to rabbits to guinea pigs.

Is it true that only happy dogs get the zoomies?

No, it's not true that only happy dogs get the zoomies. Dog zoomies can also be caused by stress or anxiety.

Should you let your dog do zoomies?

Yes, you should let your dog experience the zoomies. They are a natural expression of excitement and energy and one that can make you laugh a lot!

Does zoomies mean your dog is bored?

Zoomies don't always mean your dog is bored. Often, it can indicate excitement, pent up energy, happiness, or it can be completely random!

Should I ignore zoomies?

You don't need to ignore your dog's zoomies. It's a perfectly natural behavior! Just make sure they have plenty of space and are in a safe environment.

What dog breeds get zoomies?

Certain dog breeds get zoomies more than others. This can be because they naturally have more energy or a higher prey drive. Some dog breeds that get them more include Beagles, Border collies, and Chihuahuas.

Why do dogs get aggressive zoomies?

Dog zoomies may become aggressive if they haven't been trained properly. This is especially common in young dogs and puppies who haven't been trained not to bite.

Final thoughts

So, to conclude, a zooming dog is most likely a happy one! If you're lucky enough to be able to witness your adult dogs still zooming, then enjoy it! It's perfectly natural and healthy, even in older dogs.
As always, make sure your dog's environment is safe. Declutter the house and move any furniture that may cause injury.

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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