It is a known fact that dogs go crazy after a bath. My dogs run circles around the yard or house, spraying water everywhere and rubbing their faces on anything they can find. Usually, this romping turns into a game, and by the end, we are all tired out and damp and happy.
This behavior is not just limited to bath time. Almost every dog owner is familiar with “the zoomies.” These fits of energy can come on suddenly, especially if dogs have lots of energy to burn or are exceptionally excited, and they are as adorable as they are ridiculous.
What are the zoomies and why do they happen?
The “zoomies” actually have a scientific name. Behaviorists call them FRAPs, and they are not talking about the delicious frozen beverage.
FRAP stands for frenetic random activity periods, which is basically exactly what it sounds like — dogs randomly running around with frenetic energy for periods of time.
According to vet Dr. Marty Becker, FRAPs are totally normal. Zoomies are just a dog’s way of releasing energy, which is why puppies have them so frequently. Dogs that do not get quite enough exercise may have more zoomies than dogs that get out more often, but even regularly exercised dogs can catch the zoomies for no good reason. Baths, though, are always a surefire recipe for a good FRAP.
So what is it about baths that get dogs so fired up?
There are a few theories.
Dogs shake and FRAP to relieve stress and excess energy. Baths can be stressful, even for dogs who tolerate them, and so your dog’s zoomies could just be your dog’s way of burning off stress after a bath. Then, once they start running, they might just realize running is fun, and the zoomies turn into play.
Another theory has to do with that delicious-smelling oatmeal pet shampoo you’ve been using. Your nose appreciates it, but your dog’s nose, which is about 10,000 times more sensitive, could take this as a sensory overload. All of those wonderfully stinky odors she’s been storing up in her fur over time have suddenly been replaced by this new overpowering smell. So all that rolling around could just be your dog trying to rid herself of the shampoo or neutralize it with familiar odors.
Whatever the reason, the zoomies are harmless as long as your dog doesn’t run into things or slip on a wet surface. You can avoid this by planning ahead, and washing your dog in a location where she can’t get into trouble as she runs around afterward.