Study reveals triggers for your dog or cat’s frantic runs

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The crazy races that dogs and cats make through the house at times when you least expect it are not abnormal. Specialists confirm this and cite the most common triggers.”

Across the Atlantic and across the Channel, this is called zoomies or FRAP (periods of frenetic random activity). It is these moments that may seem surreal to us and during which our pets start to take sprints for no apparent reason.”

Episodes that can sometimes last several minutes and are as surprising as they are fun to see. This is a completely natural behavior and is not the manifestation of any discomfort, says José Arce, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), to Live Science. He explains that these dogs and cats are simply having fun.”

These races are triggered by a variety of events. José Arce cites in particular the example of a dog that is pulled out of its cage or box; he runs in all directions to externalize all the energy that had accumulated during his period of confinement.”

The return of the master home after hours of absence is also one of the commonly observed triggers, especially if the animal comes out of a nap at that time. The excitement and the need to exert oneself then act in concert.”

Zoomies also occur after moments when the nerves of the animals are put to use, such as following a bath.”

José Arce indicates, moreover, that if dogs display this behavior mainly during the day, cats do it mainly at dusk and dawn, when their activity is at its peak.”

Felines can also have these episodes of frantic racing after grooming themselves or using their litter.”

The president of the AVMA also recounts his personal experience; his cats have FRAP when he opens a box of pie for them. What they perceive as a happy, exciting and unprecedented event, knowing that it usually feeds them kibble.”

Read also: The tender moment between a therapy dog and a patient with dementia

Normal and natural behavior

Generally, these episodes are longer in dogs than in cats. In addition, they are more pronounced in active dog breeds, such as the Australian Shepherd, the Border Collie or the Siberian Husky.”

José Arce finally recalls that FRAPs are quite natural and are not the manifestation of any obsessive compulsive behavior, contrary to what some masters may think.”

These are simply moments during which the dog or cat evacuates its overflow of energy or expresses its joy.”

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