Why Do Dogs’ Paws Smell Like Fritos?

December 18, 2023

Written By: Earth Buddy Team

Light brown dog paw being held by owner. Read this article to learn more about your dog may be showing signs of a fungal infection if their paws smell like fritos.

Have you ever noticed a peculiar corn chip-like smell emanating from your dog’s paws? This intriguing phenomenon, often referred to as “frito feet,” is a common occurrence among our canine companions. In fact, there are many dog owners who have noticed their dog has stinky feet or smelly feet. In this article, we dive into the fascinating reasons behind this distinct odor.

From the biology of your dog’s paws to the micro-environment they create, we’ll explore the various factors contributing to why your dog smells like an odd salty food. Understanding why your dog’s paws smell like a popular snack can provide insights into their health and hygiene, as well as offer tips on managing and caring for their paws.

Why Do Dogs’ Paws Smell Like Fritos (It’s Not Sweat)?

There are several reasons why you may lie down next to your dog and all of a sudden get a whiff of something that may smell like corn chips. If your dog smells like this, it may not be coming from their body as a whole, but rather just part of it. It’s probably not sweat, but there’s a possibility it could just be their paws. Reasons for that corn chip smell on your dog’s paws may include:

  • Microorganisms in their paw pads
  • Yeast inside the paw pads or in the folds of their skin
  • Dirty paws

We’ll discuss each of the reasons dog paws smell individually along with what you should do to keep the aroma under control.

Microorganisms on Paw Pads Could Make Your Dogs Feet Smell Like Fritos

Your dog’s paw pads are like a miniature ecosystem, home to beneficial, harmless bacteria that promote healthy skin. This delicate balance can be disrupted by certain bacteria. There are two that are common culprits, bacteria called pseudomonas and another known as proteus. That could potentially answer the question, ‘why do dogs’ paws smell like fritos?’

When these bacteria overgrow, they release compounds that result in the distinctive Frito-like odor from your dog’s paws. Although this smell is usually not alarming, it’s important to pay attention to it, particularly if your dog shows signs of occasional discomfort like excessive licking.

Dogs Feet Smell Like Fritos From Yeast, Sometimes

If the imbalance of microorganisms in general isn’t the answer to ‘why do dogs’ paws smell like fritos,’ yeast could be the reason your dog smells like corn chips. If you don’t know what a yeasty odor smells like, it may not click as a possibility at first.

Yeast thrives in environments that are warm and moist, which is why a dog’s paw pads are an ideal location for these infections to develop. The nooks and crannies in a dog’s paws can retain moisture and warmth, creating perfect conditions for yeast to flourish. When there’s an overgrowth of yeast in your dog’s paws, you may notice an even stronger corn chip aroma.

In most cases, a small amount of yeast is normal, but when the yeast population begins to multiply excessively, that’s when it could become a problem. Other indicators that there could be cause for concern include licking or chewing at their paws more than normal.

Why Do Dogs’ Paws Smell Like Fritos: Is it Their Paws or Their Skin Folds? Or Both?

The intricate crevices within your dog’s paw pads that can help yeast grow can also become breeding grounds for bacteria, hence encouraging bacterial growth. Dogs with wrinkled skin, with the wrinkles like those commonly found in Bulldogs and Shar Peis, are also particularly susceptible to gross conditions inside the folds. There’s a ton of warm moisture in their skin folds in addition to their frito-paws.

It’s important to keep the folds clean on a regular basis. These folds can trap dirt, sweat, and debris from outside. Grab some cleaning supplies from your local pet store so you can effectively clean inside the folds. This is particularly important on days your dog has been running in the rain, jumping in muddy puddles, or even on days that are mostly spent outdoors. You want to keep these areas as clean and dry as possible.

Paws Should Be Kept Clean to Keep Your Dog’s Feet Free of Debris

Keeping your dog’s paws clean should be near the top of your priority list. Get rid of any trapped dirt, debris, and moisture lurking between their pads and don’t forget to check them frequently. Additionally, cleaning your dog’s paws after walks, especially in urban areas or during inclement weather, should help remove road salt or lawn chemicals present in their paws.

In addition to addressing the situation if your dog’s feet smell like corn chips, some of the benefits of keeping your dog’s paws clean include:

  • Helps maintain healthy skin
  • Soothes skin-related issues associated with seasonal allergies
  • Supports skin health

Using rags or specially designed pet wipes can be an easy and efficient method to clean your dog’s paws. These wipes are not only convenient but may also be helpful for animals with sensitive skin, ensuring that the cleaning process is comfortable for them.

Keep Your Dog’s Toenails Trimmed Keeps the Odor Down

If your dog’s paws smell pretty rough, start by regularly trimming their toenails and cleaning their paws. This helps remove dirt and bacteria that contribute to the odor. If your dog’s paws smell like corn chips even after their toenails are trimmed, and the aroma is intense, you may need to make an appointment with your groomer and/or veterinarian.

Let them know what your dog’s feet smell like and don’t forget to look them over before you call so you’re able to answer any questions they may have before the appointment.

Even if your dog doesn’t have that distinct smell of frito feet on their toes and they’re not experiencing paw issues, it’s still important to take care of their feet.

Check Out Paw Soaks If Paws Smell Like Corn Chips

Use a paw-soaking solution to maintain healthy paws, which may help reduce unwanted smells, like that corn chip smell. If these measures don’t lead to a noticeable improvement, consider scheduling an appointment with a professional groomer for further assistance in maintaining your dog’s paw hygiene. You may need to enlist the help of a professional to get back on track.

Earth Buddy Paw & Skin Balm for Dog Feet

Brown Great Dane getting some Earth Buddy Skin & Paw balm for dogs applied to her paws. Frito paws can stem from a yeast infection on dogs' paws.

Earth Buddy’s CBD Skin & Paw Balm for dogs contains full spectrum hemp extract, organic coconut oil, organic mango butter, and organic beeswax. These ingredients are all organic and vegan, and are safe for your pet to consume orally. The full spectrum hemp extract combines cannabidiol, other cannabinoids, and terpenes to support a healthy inflammatory response. Coconut oil and mango butter help maintain the normal moisture content of skin. And organic beeswax may promote the body’s innate resistance to pathogens.

When all of these ingredients are combined, they can help keep animals in peak condition and provide nutrients for a healthy body. Pet parents can also choose to add a full spectrum hemp extract tincture to the paw wax which also works with the endocannabinoid system to help maintain the general health of all ages and breeds.

Earth Buddy’s Gut Health with Colostrum for Dogs

Earth Buddy Gut Health for dogs with bovine colostrum to balance bacterial or fungal infections that may lead to dogs’ paws smelling like fritos.

Your dog’s gut health is directly linked to the health of their skin and, therefore, their paws. Adding Earth Buddy’s Gut Health product to your dog’s feeding regimen could help support healthy GI function and promote a healthy coat and skin. Gut Health contains Colostrum for dogs, which balances good and bad bacteria in dogs’ gut. It also contains our solvent-free Kief form of CBD for dogs to help with irritated skin problems.

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