Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fritos?

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4 min read
4 min read

Updated - Jul 16th, 2023

Key Points

  • Dogs usually smell like Fritos due to bacterial or yeast overgrowth in their paws.
  • You can get rid of this funky scent with regular grooming and paw cleaning.
  • Call your vet if you notice signs of infection i.e. redness, swelling, limping, or excessive licking.

If you’re wondering, “Why does my dog smell like Fritos?” You’re not alone.

This peculiar phenomenon usually stems from bacterial overgrowth in a dog’s paws. Also known as “Frito feet,” this experience is more common among pet parents than you might think.

Here, we’ll sniff out some reasons why your dog’s paws smell like Fritos and how to freshen them up.

Common reasons why your dog’s paws smell like Fritos

Microorganisms on paw pads

Believe it or not, there are microorganisms that live on your dog’s skin. These organisms play an important role in maintaining your dog’s health. But, other types of bacteria, such as Proteus and Pseudomonas, may show up uninvited. These bacteria produce isovaleric acid, which has a similar aroma to corn chips.

Yeast overgrowth

An overgrowth of yeast, or yeast infections, can also be why your dog’s paws smell like Fritos. Yeast flourishes in warm and moist environments, making dog toes a breeding ground. If you’ve noticed an extra pungent Frito smell wafting your dog’s paws, yeast could be the culprit.

Bacterial overgrowth

Dogs have sweat glands in various parts of their bodies, including their paws. Your dog’s sweat can mix with the bacteria on their skin leading to a corn chip odor.

Certain dog breeds may be more prone to bacterial overgrowth than others. Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shar Peis, for example, have unique skin folds and wrinkles. These nooks and crannies create the perfect environment for bacterial overgrowth.

Poor paw hygiene

Regardless of your dog’s breed, it’s important to clean their paws. Regular paw care helps prevent the accumulation of dirt, debris, and moisture. This keeps bacteria in check, thus, preventing the notorious Frito feet odor.

Remember, a little extra paw care can go a long way. Try wiping your dog’s feet down after walks or paying extra attention to their toes during bath time.

When to call the vet

While the corn chip smell is generally harmless, keep an eye on your dog’s paws if it persists. Signs like redness, swelling, itching, or hair loss, may point to a bigger health issue. Allergens or even foreign objects stuck between the toes can also cause smelly feet.

If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect an infection, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. They can spot the exact cause and recommend the appropriate treatment.

How do I get rid of the Frito smell on my dog?

Frito feet or not, dog grooming is an essential aspect of pet parenting. It’s important to trim your dog’s toenails and clean their paws often. This can get rid of the Frito smell and reduce the chances of it coming back in the future.

If you find your dog smells like Fritos more often than not, try to:

  • Clean your dog’s paws with paw wipes or a paw-soaking solution regularly.
  • Dry your dog’s paws after walks or outdoor activities.
  • Trim your dog’s nails to prevent dirt and debris buildup.
  • Keep your dog’s living area clean and dry.
  • Make an appointment with your groomer.

Is the corn chip smell harmful to my dog?

For the most part, Frito feet are not a cause for concern. Veterinarian Dr. Linda Simon says, There is no cause for concern unless the corn chip smell worsens or your dog develops additional symptoms such as excessive licking, pinkness, or broken skin.”

How does a vet treat bacterial overgrowth in the paws?

Treatment for Frito feet will vary based on the exact cause. Dr. Simon notes, “Treatment may include a medicated wash and anti-inflammatories. Your dog should not lick their sore paws, and this may mean using a buster collar. It is generally best not to cover the paws with dressings or bandages, as dogs need to sweat through their paws.”

The bottom line on Frito feet

While the corn chip smell coming from your dog’s paws may seem unusual, it’s very common and treatable. Try boosting your dog’s paw hygiene with the tips above, and if the smell persists, seek out your vet’s advice.

Pumpkin Dog Insurance plans help pay 90% of eligible vet bills for unexpected accidents and illnesses – funky paw problems, included! Fetch your free quote today.

Zoe Tanner

Zoe Tanner

Zoe is a passionate writer and long-time animal lover. She's a devoted cat mother to four furry felines.
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