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Frito Feet: Why Do My Pet’s Paws Smell Like Corn Chips?

By January 12, 2022 February 14th, 2022 Uncategorized
cat holding up paw

Have you ever caught a whiff of corn chips when you are close to your dog’s paws? If so, you might wonder if you are imagining things. Chances are, you’re not! If you’ve ever noticed your pup’s feet are smelling like fritos, you’re not alone. This occurrence can be quite common, and is nothing to be concerned about.  

Dogs produce a variety of smells—some good, some bad, and some that remind you of corn chips! The team at Eastside Veterinary Associates is here to explain the phenomenon of frito feet, and why your dog’s paws may smell like corn chips. 

Funky and Frequent: Bacteria on the Feet 

Generally, the interesting smells that come from your dog’s feet should be nothing to worry about. The smells happen because a variety of bacteria and fungi come into contact with your pet’s paws on a daily basis. This is normal, because your pet’s feet touch all the microbes and various substances they encounter on the ground. The bacteria and fungi that remain on your pet’s paws and skin are responsible for the variety of smells that might tickle your nose. To make matters even more funky, dogs who lick their paws often can add even more bacteria to the equation. 

The bacteria responsible for the yeasty, popcorn, or frito smells are known as Proteus or Pseudomonas. The odor can also come from the build up of sweat between your dog’s paw pads, toes, and fur. Things can get extra smelly when the balance between good and bad bacteria is off, or when other problems are thrown into the mix.

dog with frito feet

dog with frito feet

No Longer Corn Chips 

If the smell becomes overwhelming, hard to ignore, or takes a turn for the worse, it could indicate a bigger issue. Contact your veterinarian if your pet’s paws display any of the following issues: 

  • Odor, redness, or scaling 
  • A cut or abrasion that produces odor or puss  
  • An object lodged between the paw pad and the foot or toes
  • Inflammation on the feet or paw pad
  • Toenail infections 

The above can be symptoms of bacteria or fungi overgrowth, an infection, skin dryness, or more. Have your veterinarian team look at your pet’s paws to determine the cause of the odors,  and to come up with a treatment plan so your pet can get back to having happy feet. 

Keep Em’ Clean 

The best way to avoid funky feet odors on your pet is to maintain a regular hygiene routine. Wash your pet’s paws after hikes or long outdoor walks through various terrain, and inspect them frequently for bug bites, cuts, or irritation. Pamper your pooch with cooling paw wipes or balm to keep them clean and moisturized after outdoor time. You can also consider investing in some dog booties to help protect your pet’s paws from the elements and outdoor bacteria.

Pay attention to your pet’s licking habits, and check out their paws if they seem to be licking or chewing them more than normal. 

If you have any concerns about your pet’s paws or overall wellness, the team at Eastside Veterinary Associates can help! Give us a call at our Kirkland location at (425) 822-7788 or our Newcastle / Renton location at (425) 276-4100 to speak with our friendly and helpful team.

Author mdavison

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