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My Pet World: Why do dogs and cats get the 'zoomies'?

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

We have an adorable eight-month-old Havanese. She is sweet and lovable most of the time, but then she has a daily episode in the late afternoon when she acts like a maniac. She runs, jumps, growls, shows her teeth, and tries to nip and bite us. It lasts for about an hour. We usually put her in her crate until she calms down. She then returns to her charming self after the episode. Our trainer has called this behavior the "zoomies" and thinks she will grow out of it. Any suggestions on what we can do?

— Michael, Port Jefferson, New York

Dear Michael,

If your dog has a clean bill of health from your veterinarian, then your trainer is probably right; your dog has the "zoomies." Zoomies is a term used to describe the frenetic behavior that occurs when a dog (or cat) has pent-up energy and literally “zooms" all around the house. It is more common in younger dogs and cats because they naturally have more energy than older pets.

Your puppy may or may not grow out of it, though. Dogs can have the zoomies well into their adult lives. But there is something you can do. Recognize it as a sign that your dog (or cat) needs more playtime and exercise. If you know this happens every day around the same time, you can pre-empt this behavior by taking her for a walk or playing with her for at least 30 minutes. If you offer playtime and exercise before she gets the zoomies, you will help burn up some of that youthful energy before she has to try to do it herself.


Dear Cathy,

We love our dog dearly, but he is terrified of thunderstorms and barks when they occur. We have tried Thundershirts®, pheromones, CBD oils, and tranquilizers. Harley is 10 years old but has been reacting to storms since he was six when we adopted him. Please help. We don't know what else we can do?

— Phyllis, Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear Phyllis,


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