Why Do My Dog’s Feet Smell Like Corn Chips?

As a dog owner, you’re used to the unpleasant and sometimes strange smells that come along with your pooch.

One smell we hear about often is “Frito feet,” or when a dog’s paws seem to smell like corn chips.

What is this weird – and kind of gross – phenomenon, and does it mean anything bad for your dog?

Why “Frito Feet” Happens

Just like on human skin, some level of bacteria and fungi are always present.

When your dog’s paws have a bacteria called Pseudomonas and Proteus, their paws can give off a yeasty odor that does smell similar to corn chips.

Additionally, because dogs sweat through their paws (Just as human feet sweat!), that sweat can activate the smell in this bacteria. This is why your dog’s feet often smell more after they’ve been playing, have cleaned their feet, or they’ve been out playing or walking in water.

In most cases, a case of Frito feet isn’t anything to be terribly concerned about.

When to Worry

Now, just because most times when your dog’s feet smell like corn chips are no cause for concern, that doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore it.

Your dog’s paw pads can become a hotbed site for infection, especially if they have injured paw pads, are immunocompromised, or in poor health. 

If you notice any of the following signs, it’s best to seek a consultation with your veterinarian to check for infection:

  • Inflammation
  • Foul-smelling odor
  • A cut that doesn’t heal
  • Recent injury to the paws or feet
  • Discharge

Keeping Your Dog’s Feet Clean

The best way to prevent Frito feet or any infection is to keep your dog’s feet as clean as possible.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Bathe your dog regularly, paying special attention to their paws and between their paw pads. Be sure not to bathe more than once per month unless directed by your veterinarian. Over bathing can dry the skin and remove the protective oils.
  • Keep your pet’s feet dry.
  • Trim long fur on their feet and paws.
  • Wash your pet’s feet after walking through mud, debris, grass, or other dirty environments.
  • Consider using pet booties to keep your dog’s feet clean and uninjured.

Veterinary Care for Dogs in Frederick, MD

Your dog deserves the best care you can find, and at Old Farm Veterinary Hospital, you get just that. From routine wellness exams to surgery, grooming to dental care, our experienced team treats your pet like one of our own. Schedule your appointment today!