You may have noticed from time to time an aroma emanating from your dog that makes you want to head to the kitchen for a salty snack. It’s not just your imagination when you think your dog’s paws smell like corn chips or popcorn. Yes, I’m talking about Frito Feet! If you’ve never noticed this before, go ahead and take a whiff of your pup’s paws and there’s a good chance you’ll see (and smell) what I’m talking about.
Compared to all of the other possible smells that can come from a dog, this one is rather pleasant. Unfortunately, what creates the aroma is not so pleasant. It’s caused by bacteria or fungi that are thriving between your dog’s toes. Ok, you’re probably not quite as hungry for that snack now, right?
A lot of factors can contribute to your pup having a case of Frito feet. Dogs walk around on a lot of dirty surfaces. They also sweat through their paw pads and lick their paws which can introduce microbes between the paw pads. Combine these factors with lots of skin folds and excess fur that can limit air circulation and you have an ideal breeding ground for yeast and bacteria (like Proteus or Pseudomonas) which causes the strange corn chip aroma.
Normally you don’t need to be alarmed about the smell, it’s completely natural for many dogs. I’ve noticed this issue many times with Haley and have been reassured by my vet that it was perfectly normally. Unless there’s a foul or constant overwhelming odor, there’s no reason to be concerned if your dog is not exhibiting any other symptoms of the feet such as an injury, sore, tumor, skin/pad changes, excessive licking of the paws or limping. If you’re bothered by the odor, you can give your dog regular paw baths using her regular shampoo and keep the fur between her toes trimmed short to help improve air circulation.
An interesting video by Dr. Karen Becker addresses yeast infections or imbalances that could be related to this condition, especially if your dog also suffers from other ailments such as allergies, skin infections or recurring ear infections. If you’re concerned about any of these conditions, please talk to your vet to determine if treatment such as disinfectant baths or dietary changes may be necessary.
Have you ever noticed your dog’s paws smell like corn chips? Did you bathe your dog or treat the condition?