If you get close enough to your dog’s feet, you might have noticed that they smell a bit like corn chips or Fritos. Some dog owners don’t mind the aroma. Others might find the smell unpleasant and perhaps even wonder if it’s a sign of poor health. Since dogs can’t tell us what’s wrong, it’s our job to learn what smells are normal and when it might be time to intervene and seek veterinary care.
What Would Make Stinky Dog Feet a Cause for Concern?
You’d just need to be on the lookout for other symptoms in addition to the Frito-ish smell, for changes in the appearance of your dog’s feet, or if they start to display noticeably different behaviors, like licking or chewing their feet excessively, limping, or holding one of their feet off the ground. Dr. Wooten adds that swelling and redness can be signs of an infection or “bacterial or yeast overgrowth,” as can hair loss on the paws, broken or cracked toenails or an odor that smells less like corn chips and more like “stinky cheese.”
Why Do Your Dog’s Paws Smell Like Corn Chips?
No, your dog didnt just walk through a pile of Fritos; that smell comes from a combination of sweat and bacteria. Specifically, its Pseudomonas and Proteus bacteria. Now, before you let your ickiness radar go crazy, its not an uncommon thing. The truth is, your pups paws are covered with all sorts of things at any given moment.
When you snap on that leash and walk your dog, the bottom of their feet pick up an assortment of fungi and bacteria. Plus, the fur growing between their paw pads makes the perfect breeding ground. So, bacteria basically sticks around and starts to grow, right there between your canine companion’s toes.
Now, what about the smell? Well, dogs sweat through their paws, and when the sweat combines with the bacteria, thats what causes the odor. Incidentally, its the same with body odor and humans; its not the sweat itself that smells. It’s when that perspiration teams up with bacteria on the skin.
With dogs, since the sweat glands are on the paws, that tell-tale Dorito aroma comes from their feet. Theres no rhyme or reason to why it smells like corn chips, that just happens to be what most people associate with the odor. Hmm, maybe you wont want to grab that bag of chips so much anymore after all.
When Dog Paws Smell Like Corn Chips
Dog owners know their pups produce a variety of odors, many of them less-than-pleasant. If you’ve ever noticed a distinct, corn chip-like aroma wafting up from your dog’s paws, you aren’t crazy. Many pet owners report their dog’s paws smell like Fritos, popcorn, tortillas, or other corn-based products – but why?
Here at Hampton Veterinary Hospital, we never shy away from life’s important questions, and we welcome the opportunity to help our readers figure out why their dog’s paws smell like Fritos!