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Dog Smells - Why Does My Dog's Feet Smell Like Fritos?

Dog Smells - Why Does My Dog's Feet Smell Like Fritos?

Dogs tend to get messy. Regardless of how frequently you groom them with the best products or train them with your trusted e-collars, your pup will become untidy again, sometimes is a matter of a few minutes. But there are other issues than mud and sand.

Have you ever wondered why your dog smells like corn chips? They sometimes smell like they did a walkthrough of a Frito-Lay factory. If so, you're not the only one. The scent is so common that it earned the cute nickname "Frito Feet."

A Dog's Paw is Complicated

You might not be aware of it, but a dog's paws are far more complex than they look.

Parts of a Dog's Paw

Right at the very end are claws that resemble human nails in many aspects. On the inside of the foot, further back, they have an additional dew claw or spur. The toes corresponding to the four smaller front pads, also known as the digital pads, come next. The metacarpal pad, which is one bigger pad, is located behind them. The carpal pad is at the back of the foot, close to the area we call the "ankle joint." Webbing adds the complexity of the foot of some breeds, like the Dachshund.

Dogs walk on their toes! These components provide numerous crevices and nooks where residues, dirt, bacteria, and yeasts can accumulate and emit scents.

Why Does Your Dog's Foot Odor Remind You of Corn Chips?

 Sitting Pug Looking at Corn Chips on a Bowl

Veterinarians say that "Proteus" and "Pseudomonas" bacteria are responsible for your dog's paws smelling like corn chips. They are accumulated through walking around all day. They are normal and can be found on the feet of any dog.

The structure of a dog's foot and fur makes it an extremely livable environment for bacteria to multiply and get stinking. Imagine it like the bacteria that linger out on your skin constantly. Additionally, some dogs love licking their feet, which can worsen matters.

 Is Frito Feet Harmful?

While many might assume that feet that smell like corn chips are a sign of a problem, this isn't frequently the case. Most dogs with feet that smell like corn chips do not have paw infections. It is very natural for dogs to carry the tiny amounts of bacteria that are the source of this particular odor. However, some dogs get an overgrowth or a bacterial and yeast infection. This issue is known as "Pododermatitis" if it affects your dog's feet.

Five Reasons Why Dog Paws Smell

Five Reasons Why Dog Paws Smell Infographic

  1. Bacteria and Fungi

The bacteria responsible for the infamous "Fritos scent" are often completely natural bacteria that emit a yeasty stench. This scent, which is very distinct from stinky human feet, is fortunately not disliked by many. The prolonged use of heaters in the winter and high humidity in the summer create the perfect environment for fungus growth. Fungi can flourish in the spaces between your dog's toes and the cracks and crevices surrounding their foot pads.

  1. Sweat

Dogs do not have sweat glands as humans have. Instead, they sweat via the foot pads. They suffer from this in various ways, including smelly paws. To keep the odor at bay and stop sweat from seeping into their fur, it's crucial to trim the hair between the foot pads. 

  1. Foreign Objects

If your dog has something lodged in their paw, it could lead to an abscess or infection and produce an unpleasant odor. Look for anything that shouldn't be on your dog's paws daily.

  1. Toenail Problems

A foul odor may be brought on by foot melanoma or a sore that has grown infected due to licking. In this circumstance, it is advisable to have a veterinarian examine the wound.

  1. Open Sore

Your dog's paws may smell bad due to an infection or toenail injury. You might be able to heal this wound at home, or you could need to see the vet, depending on how serious it is. 

What Can You Do About Dog Feet Smell?

How to Keep Your Dog's Feet from Smelling Infographic

Nothing is required of you! Frito feet are natural. Here are some suggestions, though, if you believe it's a problem.

  1. Keep paws clean.

Keeping the paw pads and the fur between them neat limits the chance for bacteria to grow.

  1. Maintain it.

It's more likely that germs may infect cracked paws and that microorganisms will overgrow. Wax that shields paws from extremes of heat, cold, and chemicals is a good option.

  1. Cut nails short.

Your dog will walk more easily and safely if its nails are neatly cut, lowering the chance of infection from ripped nails.

  1. Trim excess fur in between the pads.

Keep the fur clipped to reduce the likelihood of debris accumulating between the paw pads.

  1. Wash paws.

Wash paws, especially after a walk. Use fresh water or a dog shampoo to keep your dog's paws clean.

  1. Look out for allergies.

Pododermatitis may be brought on by food allergies (inflammation of paw skin). Consult your veterinarian about switching your dog to a special diet formulated for dogs with allergies if you think your dog may have a food allergy. 

Do Frito Feet Require a Trip to the Veterinarian?

Sometimes the cause of your dog's corn chip odor is more worrisome. An injury that has become infected may be the source of a paw that smells bad. If your dog's feet never smelled before and they start to do so now, there may have been a shift in the naturally occurring bacteria around them. In other words, you should go to the vet to have it examined.

Signs that your dog might have more serious paw problems include:

  • Foul odor and redness from fungal or bacterial proliferation
  • Injury that produces pus
  • An object stuck paw pad, such as rocks, sticks, or grass awns
  • Tumors on the skin
  • Skin irritation and scaling resulting from dryness
  • Excessive paw licking or biting
  • Constant scratching, but you can't find any signs of fleas or other reasons for the obsessive scratching
  • Swollen paws

Whether you like Frito feet or despise them, it's important to maintain your dog's paws clean and in good shape.


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