We now have two dogs, and the newest addition was like nothing we’d ever experienced before. He was manic in the evenings; it was like he got a crazy burst of energy at night. Thankfully it was a phase he grew out of at 18 months, but some dogs don’t.
Whilst it might be funny the first time, when your dog is acting hyper at night, racing back and forth like an absolute maniac and knocking stuff over, it’s stressful.
But let me help…
There are several possible reasons why your dog is so hyper at night. They could have pent-up energy due to not enough exercise or a lack of mental stimulation. They might go hyper when they are over-tried or have discomfort.
This not at all unusual for younger dogs, and it can be a phase. But there are things you can do to deal with those nightly bursts of energy. What’s more worrying is when adult dogs are suddenly hyper at night.
It’s all detailed below with some tips to help you get through this nighttime hyperactivity.
Dealing with a hyper dog at night
When a dog is so hyper at night, that you start to worry, it can feel like there’s no end in sight to it. As I’ve mentioned, it will often stop once the dog matures.
However, you can help calm a hyperactive dog. Here are 8 reasons why your dog is suddenly hyper at night and what you can do about these bursts of energy.
The popular phrase for these sudden and brief bursts of energy at night are the zoomies, otherwise referred to as frapping (or fraps) by experts. It’s an acronym for “frenetic random activity periods” (FRAPS).
But before you read more… know what to expect.
It’s perfectly normal for a 16-week old puppyto sleep longer during the day and then be more awake at night compared to 1-year-old dogs. As they grow older, they will be more active during the day.
By 1 and a half years, dogs will spend around 3 hours of sleep between 8 am and 8 pm and 7 to 9 hours of sleep between 8 pm and 8 am. Unlike humans, dogs don’t have continuous hours of sleep but rather have sleep-wake cycles of an average of 16 minutes asleep and 5 minutes awake.
1. Lack of enough play or exercise during the day
Sudden bursts of energy at night will often happen with dogs who haven’t had enough exercise that day. All dogs need to engage in daily physical activity since as it’s their main energy outlet.
If they don’t, that energy outlet can happen at home when you least expect it – night being the worst of course!
Depending on your dog’s breed, age, and other factors, they may need as little as thirty minutes of exercise a day or an hour (or more with larger dogs).
If your dog’s been cooped up inside the house all day when you go to work, with no playtime or exercise, they’ll have to find a way to get rid of all the excess energy they’ve held onto all day.
Like turning your house into a racetrack at night when they go super hyper!
Handy Hint: If it’s a hyper puppy, here’s how you can tire them out before bed.
2. They don’t get enough mental stimulation daily
Mental stimulation is more like a brain workout that will help your dog offset excess energy. There are many mentally stimulating games (see on Amazon) and toys that can help your dog release extra energy, for instance:
- Puzzle toys
- Hide and seek
- Find the treat
- Scent games
If your dog is indoors all day with nothing to tire their idle mind, they are more likely going to get a sudden burst of energy at night.
3. A response to a stressful event
If your dog has just “overcome” a stressful event in the evening, like bath time or fireworks, they’ll have too much tension built up in their body, which they’ll want to get rid of.
Separation anxiety can also the trigger zoomies, which then manifests itself as your dog suddenly going hyper at night once you get home.
If you’ve been gone for a while and come home quite late, your dog’s hyperactivity may be their way of releasing all the anxious emotions they’ve bottled up throughout the day for being away from you for too long.
Handy Hint: Dogs can also whine at night when stressed. Here’s how you can help them through those episodes.
4. Too tired to keep calm
Think of zoomies being the dog version of toddler bedtime tantrums. If your dog had a busy day, they might be over-exhausted and confused about why they feel that way.
Just like a human toddler!
The extremely energetic and hyper behavior at bedtime could be their way of telling you that they are super exhausted and need help switching to their resting mode.
These tantrum-throwing zoomies are common with dogs that don’t have a bedtime routine.
5. Eating at the wrong time
Most experts recommend feeding your dog at least three hours before bedtime and having a light play session with them a few hours before they sleep (to exhaust the energy from food).
If your dog often eats when it’s almost bedtime, they will be too energized and end up running around all hyper at night when you’re already fast asleep.
Still on food, your dog’s diet may also be causing the zoomies. For instance, if their regular dog food is full of carbs, they will have a lot of energy after evening meals.
6. Hyper at night when in discomfort
As crazy as this sounds, dogs sometimes get into hyper mode to run away from discomfort.
If your dog has a slight stomachache or is experiencing a tingling sensation somewhere on their body (probably from an insect bite), they may think that running away will make the discomfort disappear.
7. Uncomfortable sleeping space
Sure, your dog has a cute bed all to themselves. But if they feel like it’s too hot or too cold in there, they might unleash zoomies to escape the discomfort.
Handy Hint: Here’s a guide which explains how to keep a dog warmer at night when winter comes.
The hyperactivity at night can also occur if your dog has trouble sleeping because of distractions.
If they’re not used to sleeping with lights on or background noises, this can make them anxious and prompt them to expel these emotions through zoomies.
8. You seem to enjoy the zoomies
If your dog realizes you normally react positively to their wilding episodes, the hyperactivity may become their go-to thing at night.
Your positive reaction could be anything from laughing to chasing after them or calling their name. Your dog will assume you like it when they are hyper and purpose to entertain you regularly.
How to calm a hyper dog at night
While it’s impossible to stop your dog from getting zoomies completely since it’s unpredictable behavior, you can reduce how often it happens and some of the hyperactivity.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your dog has fewer hyper nights:
Do not join in on the “fun”
The best way to react to a hyper dog is to ignore them. Don’t call them or run after them.
Doing so will only prolong the hype sessions and encourage them to repeatedly entertain you with the zoomies.
Encourage calm behavior by rewarding calm behavior
It’s not a good idea to throw your dog a treat or a toy when they are hyper since they will think you are rewarding their hyper behavior.
Instead, wait until they settle down to reward them. By combining “ignoring the zoomies” and “rewarding calm behavior,” your dog will learn to stay calm during most nights.
Why? They’ll know that not being hyper gets your attention and wins them a treat.
Prioritize daytime physical activities
Ensure your dog has an appropriate exercise and playtime routine and invest in mentally stimulating toys.
If you often have a busy daytime schedule, think of hiring a pet sitter or dog walker.
Make use of their crate
Consider crating your dog several minutes before bedtime and ensure they have their favorite chew toys in the crate.
Chewing is a great way for dogs to relax and release pent-up energy instead of running around.
Be mindful of feeding time
Make sure your dog’s feeding time in the evening isn’t minutes away from bedtime. Also, chat with your vet about your dog’s food so you’d know whether it has the right balance of nutrients.
Ensure their sleeping area is comfortable enough
Make sure your dog’s bed isn’t stuffed with so many blankets or missing a warm blanket (depending on how the weather is).
Plus, don’t disrupt their nighttime routine. If they often sleep with the lights off, keep it that way.
FAQs on hyper dogs
Why does my dog get a burst of energy at night?
As discussed earlier, the short burst of energy or “zoomies” could be for many reasons.
Maybe they don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation during the day, eat at the wrong time, are over-exhausted, have an uncomfortable sleeping space, or are stressed.
Why is my dog suddenly going crazy at night?
Your dog’s sudden craziness at night is called “zoomies,” and it is normal dog behavior.
It could be that your dog didn’t have enough physical and mental activity during the day, they’re responding to a stressful event, they’ve eaten at the wrong time, their bed is uncomfortable, or they are over exhausted.
How do you calm down a hyper dog?
The best thing you can do is ignore them as they run around wildly and reward them when they finally settle down. Here’s a bigger guide on how to do that.
Ignoring will ensure that they don’t prolong the hyper session, and rewarding will make them behave more calmly in the nights to come.
It often happens on a quiet night when you least expect it.
One minute your dog is relaxing on their favorite spot, minding their own business. Then suddenly, goes from zero to a hundred — running hilariously at top speed with a crazy look in their eyes as though they’re possessed.
Nearly every dog parent has countless experiences of their dog going hyper at night. So, rest assured that it’s totally normal dog behavior.
Any dog (big, small, young, or mature) can get a sudden burst of energy at night. Most will grow out of it, and if they don’t, you might need to make adjustments based on the points I’ve raised above.
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