Why Do Dogs Run In Circles?

Why Do Dogs Run In Circles?

As a dog owner, you might have seen your dog run around in circles uncontrollably. You might have seen this sudden spurt of energy in your dog as he goes around destroying everything in the way. And quite naturally, you might have wondered, ‘why do dogs run in circles?’ 

As a pet parent, I have wondered too, ‘why do dogs run in circles,’ when I see my furry friend running around the house without a care in the world. The first time I saw a zoomie, I even wondered if it was normal. So, like every other responsible pet owner, I researched.

So, check out the results of my research to the question, and learn more about your furry friend’s zoomies. 

Why Do Dogs Run In Circles? Top 8 Reasons

Why Do Dogs Run In Circles?

Next time your pup runs around the house, conquering everything on the way, do not be surprised or worried. This sudden burst of energy called dog zoomies is a completely natural and normal dog behavior. These zoomie episodes are also called Frenetic Random Activity Period.

There are many answers to why your dog runs around in circles and here are some of the reasons:

1. Boredom

Your dog is trying to get rid of the horrors of boredom. We know how bad boredom can get! Well, not many of us like to lay down, doing nothing. Dogs do not like wasting a beautiful day too.

Dogs are indeed curious animals but they would not want to be doing the same thing for a long time. They need to be physically and mentally active to be healthy. 

It can be quite the task to relieve your dog’s boredom, but here is expert advice on how to understand dog boredom and help relieve it. 

2. Compulsive Behavior

Your dog’s circling habit could also be a compulsive behavior, for example, tail chasing. Too much tail chasing could be the sign of obsessive-compulsive behavior and consulting a dog behaviorist can help treat it. 

A little tail-chasing episode is okay. However, if your dog involves too much in trying to chase his tail, it could mean that he does not get enough physical and mental stimulation. 

3. Attention

Your dog’s circling habit is a result of your dog being a drama queen! Your dog is trying to catch your attention by running around the house and making his presence known. 

Zoomies could be your dog’s way of initiating a game and instigating attention from you. 

4. Excitement

Your dog could be over-excited. He could be excited in response to any positive stimuli around him. 

He could be running around in circles to display his excitement in response to play, playing with his buddies, and other such activities. These activities stimulate him and he could be running around in circles to release that energy.

5. Distemper

Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease in domestic dogs that affects their respiratory system. This disease can be fatal and it spread via coughing and sneezing

One of the major symptoms that occur when a dog suffers from canine distemper is a seizure. This includes the affected dog running or walking around in circles and then falling over, kicking his feet. 

If you feel your dog is suffering from canine distemper symptoms, immediately consult a vet. 

6. Irritation 

Dogs circle because they might be trying to get rid of a sensation that is irritating them. Health issues like ear infections cause discomfort and lack of balance in dogs. Usually, health issues are accompanied by other symptoms too.

If you feel that your dog has the zoomies because of a health issue, conduct a vet as soon as possible.

7. Release Pent-Up Energy

Your dog has plenty of energy and he could be running around the house to release all that pent-up energy. This could be the case if your dog is having a zoomie episode, especially during his bedtime ritual. 

Your dog could be trying to release all the physical, mental, or nervous energy that is built up in him.

8. Diet Issues

What you feed your dog is also responsible for how your dog behaves. You could be feeding your dog something that makes him hyperactive. 

Research your dog’s diet and provide him with dog food that is safe for him.

9. Vestibular Syndrome

Running around in circles is also a symptom of vestibular syndrome, a syndrome that affects your dog’s inner ear and balance. Walking around in circles, keeping their head down, drooling are some of the symptoms of vestibular disease. 

10. Anxious Dog

Your furry friend could be dealing with problems like separation anxiety, giving him too much energy that results in excessive zoomies. 

When Do Dog Zoomies Occur?

Why Do Dogs Run In Circles?

Your dog running around in circles is quite common especially if he is a young dog. Younger dogs get more zoomies than older dogs. Zoomies are your dog’s way of releasing pent-up energy and an older dog has much less energy to spend. 

Your dogs can get the zoomies on different occasions, but some of the most observed and common times for your dog to get zoomies are:

  • After a bath
  • After being confined for a long time
  • Before bedtime
  • Late night
  • When he lacks mental and physical stimulation
  • When boredom strikes

It is very normal for your dog to have zoomies. However, if you feel your dog’s zoomies are a compulsive behavior, consult a veterinarian. 

Also, check out this funny compilation of dogs having their zoomies!

Why Does Your Dog Run In Circles At Night?

Zoomies at night can be tiring but there is a way to stop it. The reason why your dog is running around at night before bedtime or late at night is that he does not get enough exercise in the day.

Your dog needs plenty of mental and physical stimulation throughout the day. If he does not get that, he will have all this build-up energy in him. Running around before bedtime is his way of releasing the excess energy before he goes to sleep.

One way to help your furry friend is to take him out for plenty of playtime and exercise. Your dog will find it difficult to sleep with all the excess energy still inside of him. Exhausting this energy will ensure a zoomies-free night and a goodnight’s sleep!

For good mental stimulation, you can provide your dog this puzzle toy that I love to use for my dog.   

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Brick Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy, Intermediate

What Should I Do When My Dog Gets Aggressive While Circling? 

Even well-behaved dogs can show signs of poor behavior while having a circling episode. A little aggression during zoomies is normal in most dogs. When they are over-excited, dogs might sometimes end up nipping or biting those around them. 

As long as this behavior does not cause serious injury or accidents, it should be fine. However, if this behavior goes overboard, it can be dangerous. 

To help aggression during zoomies, you can try to divert the dog’s attention using toys. Do not reward the aggressive behavior during a frantic activity or encourage the behavior by chasing him. Also, keep an eye on your children so that they do not get into the way of the dog’s zoomies and get hurt. 

If you feel the need, visit a dog behaviorist who can provide you professional help. Excitement can go overboard and we need to keep an eye out for accidents. Better safe than sorry, right?

Can Dog Circling Be Dangerous?

Dog circling is normal and not a very dangerous activity if your dog is healthy and young. Dogs with medical conditions and back problems can get injured during a frantic episode. 

Do make sure your dog does not have his zoomies on a wet and slippery floor with lots of things on the way. He can slip and get very hurt. 

Always make sure children are out of the way of a dog’s designated path while having a frantic episode. Dogs, especially large dog breeds can knock children over and cause serious injuries. 

If your dog’s zoomies are accompanied by other unusual symptoms, visit the vet as soon as possible. Your dog could be suffering from neurological issues. 

Dog zoomies are very normal but always keep an eye out for safety, so that the frantic episode ends with no casualties. 

How Can You Stop Your Dog’s Circling Behavior?

Why Do Dogs Run In Circles?

Normal zoomies are not a huge issue. But if you are tired of all the circling episodes just when you want to go to sleep, there are a few things that you can start doing to ensure fewer zoomies. 

Below are the few tips and tricks that can help you a great deal with all the frantic episodes:

1. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

Plenty of exercise during the day. One main reason for zoomies is all the pent-up energy that your dog wants to exhaust. Taking him out for plenty of playtime and exercise can help your dog wear off the excess energy. Your furry friend will be too tired for a frantic episode.

2. A Trip To The Vet

If your dog has unusually too many zoomies combined with other unusual symptoms, chances are he is suffering from a neurological issue or another medical issue. A trip to the vet will help you confirm this doubt. 

Proper care and treatment should be provided if your dog is suffering from a health issue.

3. Training 

Provide your dog with proper obedience training so that he will listen to you and learn to stay calm. You can also provide your puppy with proper agility training. You can also provide puzzles and tasks that will stimulate his mental capacity

4. Visiting His Besties

Another way to help your dog exhaust his energy and provide mental stimulation is to take him to the doggy daycare or the dog park. Spending time with other canine companions can help your dog a great deal.

5. Calming Treats And Toys

Diverting your dog’s attention is one way you can help him out of his frantic episode. Give him some calming treats or some food treats like milk bones that he loves. Some puzzles and calming toys provide mental stimulation to your dog, helping him calm down. 

SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy, Brown and White

But, don’t forget to put on some natural bug repellants on your furry friend before your visit to the park!

Pet parents, I know taking care of your lovely furry friend can be a little exhausting. Also, from one pet parent to another, aren’t the rewards amazing? 

FAQs on Why Do Dogs Run In Circles?

1. Why Does My Dog Run Around Like Crazy?

Running around like they are possessed is quite normal in dogs. These episodes of craziness are called zoomies or Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP).

It is more recurring in a younger dog than in a senior dog. Your dog could be having zoomie episodes because he has plenty of pent-up energy, out of boredom or because he is dealing with anxiety.

As long as this running is not a compulsive behavior that causes any injury to your dog, zoomies are completely normal and natural. 

2. Why Do Dogs Run In Circles After a Bath?

Most dogs run in circles after a bath and this is quite natural dog behavior. Your dog could be running in circles because:

  • He wants to dry off
  • Out of relief
  • A sense of happiness
  • Reaction to the unfamiliar scent and wanting to return to the familiar scent
  • Trying to shake off water from their ears
  • Releasing pent up energy

Post bath time zoomies are quite natural and real. As long as you don’t feel this is compulsive behavior, a trip to the vet is unnecessary. 

3. How Long Do Dog Zoomies Last?

Dog zoomies usually last only for a minute or two and not more than that. However, in unusual cases, zoomies can last longer, and sometimes, this can be a cause of concern.


So next time you catch yourself wondering, ‘why do dogs run in circles?’, remember that this is completely normal. 

Let him have his much necessary zoomies. But if you notice the zoomies getting weird and they are accompanied by other unusual symptoms, visit a vet as soon as possible as this can indicate a health issue.

So, let your puppy free for his ritualistic zoomies!

Why do dogs lick each other's eyes

Why Do Dogs Lick Each Others Eyes?

Why Were Chihuahuas Bred?

Why Were Chihuahuas Bred?