Why Do Dogs Spin in Circles When Excited?

By John Martin - March 29, 2022

Dog spinning in circles

Watching your dog spinning around crazily trying to chase his tail and getting dizzy can be a cute sight that makes you laugh. You may also wonder why your dog is doing this.

There are several reasons why dogs resort to this spinning behavior and in most cases, it is because your furry friend is excited. In this article, we’ll take a look at the reasons why dogs spin around in circles.

Is Spinning Normal Behavior in Dogs?

Like other dog behaviors like wagging their tails, scratching their heads, running behind shadows or snapping flies, even spinning in circles is normal behavior in dogs. They are simply being playful. Experts believe that this is non-verbal communication and your dog may be spinning around in circles just to get your attention.

Why Do Dogs Spin in Circles?

If your dog experiences sudden intense bursts of energy, where he runs around in circles or spins around, this sudden explosion of activity has several names right from “zoomies”to “midnight madness”, “crazy eights” and “midnight crazies”.

The scientific term for this spinning behavior in dogs is called Frenetic Random Activity Periods or FRAPs. While there is no scientific explanation of what causes FRAPs in dogs, zoomies are completely normal and can occur any time during the day.

Zoomies may be a way for your dog to release his pent-up energy or ease stress. Your dog may frantically spin around in circles like he’s gone crazy when you let him out after a long time or your pet sees you after you’ve been away for the entire day.

Your dog may simply be spinning around in circles because he is excited and has loads of energy to be released after being idle for a very long time.

Zoomies can occur anytime in dogs of any age or breed; though, it is likely to occur more in puppies and younger dogs who have plenty of energy to burn. In older dogs, zoomies occur once in a while.

Also Read: Why Does My Dog Protect Me From My Husband?

Why Do Dogs Spin in Circles When Excited?

When they are excited, usually dogs spin around in circles because they have no other way of containing their excitement. Since your pet can’t speak to you and convey their feelings, they usually display their excitement by spinning in circles. This is also a way to expend their energy.

Dogs can get excited by various things that can send them into a zoomie such as new toys, treats, playtime or going for a walk. Dogs are very attached to their owners and if you leave your pet by himself while you go out for a long period, when you come back home, the joy and excitement of seeing you can cause your dog to spin in circles.

Other Reasons Why Dogs Spin in Circles

While dogs often spin in circles in excitement, there may be other reasons causing them to indulge in this behavior such as:

Early in the Morning

Dogs require physical, as well as mental stimulation. And adequate mental stimulation allows them to release their energy after many hours of sleep, which is why dogs spin around in the morning to activate the cells in their bodies.

Often pet owners take their dogs for a long walk or play games with them in the morning and so usually dogs circle around a few times because they are excited about these activities.

Before Pooping

Typically, before pooping, you may see that your dog spins around in circles. This is because he is trying to find the right spot to poop and be comfortable before relieving himself.

Spinning around in circles also allows the dog to spot any possible threats, like people or other animals, who may interrupt him when he is in a vulnerable state while relieving himself.

Before Going Outdoors

If your dog begins going around in circles before going outdoors, it may be an indication that he wants to go outside to relieve himself. The spinning action may also be an indication of your pet urging you and saying “come on, let’s go” and he is using his body and actions to point you in the direction he wants to go.

Before Bedtime

When it’s bedtime, dogs usually spin around in circles before going to sleep. They usually spin around to identify any threats or risks. This may be also to find the best way to face the direction they may feel they need to keep a watch on while lying down.

They want to protect themselves instinctively and so they will lie in a place where they can keep guard. Also, your dog may spin around in circles to find a smooth and comfortable place to sleep in.

Because of Behavioral Disorders

Your dog may be spinning around for other reasons such as your pet may be anxious and they may find spinning around soothing and calming. And, your pet may try to soothe himself by doing this.

And, if you find that your dog is spinning excessively and even ignoring his eating and nap times, then your dog may be suffering from an anxiety disorder or some other psychological problem such as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) that may be causing this spinning behavior.

Also Read: Why Is My Dog Acting Weird?

When Do Zoomies Occur?

Zoomies can occur in dogs anytime at all. It is especially common to see dogs spinning or running around in circles after a nap, if he’s been alone all day, after his bath time, when he sees wide-open space, hears a particular sound that sets him off or when you have some company at home. Zoomies may occur even after your pet is stressed out such as a vet visit.

Times when your furry pet may get FRAPs include:

  • When you come back home after work
  • During play
  • Late in the evening
  • After pooping
  • During training, if your pet is overstimulated
  • When your pet is very excited

Pet owners often notice that their dog goes crazy in the middle of the night or before bedtime, spinning around in circles. If your pet is getting zoomies in the night, it means that your dog is probably not getting sufficient stimulation and exercise during the day and your pet is probably going to sleep with a lot of pent-up energy.

So, if you want to reduce your pet’s nighttime zoomies, you may need to ensure that he gets a lot more exercise during the day to release all his energy.

My Dog Is Spinning in Circles All the Time, What to Do?

Spinning in circles when dogs become excited is a common thing in several breeds of dogs. It may be when you prepare your pet’s favorite meal when you come home or show them their favorite treat or toy.

If your dog spins in circles excessively and the behavior lasts for long periods or repeats several times a day or begins affecting your pet’s daily activities such as eating, pooping, sleeping, etc. and if he repeatedly chases his tail all the time, then it may be a good idea to consult your vet. If the spinning behavior only occurs occasionally, then there is no need to worry.

Can Spinning in Circles Be Dangerous for Your Dog?

Spinning around in circles is normal behavior in dogs and generally not dangerous. However, if your dog is older or has back problems, if he twists around too fast while spinning, he may get injured. You must also ensure that your pet is not doing zoomies near the stairs or on a slippery floor, which may cause your pet to get seriously hurt.

However, if your dog is behaving oddly and spinning excessively, showing strange eye movements or bumping into things, then it is better to get your pet examined by the vet to ensure that your dog is not suffering from any neurological problems causing this behavior.

Also, when dogs grow older, their inner ear canal is prone to developing a bacterial infection, which may cause your pet to spin in circles, especially more towards the affected side.

Can Spinning in Circles Cause Your Dog to Be Aggressive?

If your dog is excited and is spinning around in circles, he may nip or bite if you get too close, especially if he is overexcited. So, when your pet is spinning in circles, it is best to let him be and not get too close or try to stop him. Stay safe so that your dog does not bite you.

Avoid running after your dog or chasing him while he is spinning as this may cause his behavior to worsen. When your dog is spinning in circles, keep your child away from your pet or your child may get knocked over by your dog and get hurt.

How to Stop Your Pet from Spinning in Circles?

As we discussed earlier, spinning around in circles is normal doggy behavior, which you need not be overly worried about, especially if it occurs occasionally. If you want to reduce this circling behavior, then it is important to ensure that your pet gets adequate exercise, as well as mental stimulation.

If your pet is spinning around a lot, then here are a few tips to reduce this behavior.

  • Take your dog for walks several times during the day
  • Take your jogging and on hikes
  • Play with him in the yard
  • Mental stimulation with toys
  • Agility training
  • Obedience training
  • Allow your pet to play with other dogs

Also Read: Why Are Dogs Afraid of Vacuums?

Wrapping Up

Your dog may be spinning in circles because he’s excited, checking out his surroundings, preparing to poop or because he’s bored or anxious. This is just a canine thing and nothing to be worried about.

Though, if the spinning becomes obsessive or if your pet is in some sort of distress, then it may be a good idea to speak to your vet to ensure that your furry friend is fit and fine.