Have you ever smelled your dog's paws and noticed a certain aroma? Some people say it smells like Fritos. Other compare the scent to corn chips or popcorn. Regardless of what you call it, find out the cause!

Frito Feet: Why Do My Dog’s Paws Smell?

Have you ever smelled your dog’s paws and noticed a certain aroma? Some people say it smells like Fritos / corn chips. Then, there’s my husband who says our Chihuahua’s paws smell like cheesy popcorn. However you describe it, you likely know the exact smell I’m referring to. Whether you find the aroma comforting (many do) or disgusting, you may have wondered what causes it. Well, to put it simply, that smell is bacteria.

The Bacteria On Your Pup’s Paws

There are many types of bacteria living on your dog’s paws. Don’t worry – this is totally normal and is the case for even the cleanest dog. Just think about all the different things your dog’s paws touch on a daily basis. There are many ways bacteria get onto Fido’s paws. But, experts say, when it comes to Frito Paws, one of the biggest culprits is sweat.

You see, unlike people, your canine companions release heat through panting, as well as glands located in their paw pads. That sweat becomes trapped in the hair on your dog’s feet. The combination of moisture and little-to-no air circulation in the toe folds of your dog’s paws creates a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive and grow.

While there are many different types, the particular bacteria that reportedly produces that famous yeast-like smell is called either Pseudomonas or Proteus.

What You Can Do To Reduce The Stench

While a faint Frito smell is pretty normal, if you aren’t a fan then there are a couple of things you can do to reduce the scent.

  1. Carefully trim the hair on the bottom of your dog’s feet. You can do this yourself or enlist the help of a professional groomer.
  2. Give your dog a footbath by submerging all four paws in water and lathering up some dog-approved shampoo. 
  3. Certain manufacturers make paw wipes for dogs. This is the brand that I use!  

When Is Frito Feet A Problem?

For the most part, the aroma that’s often referred to as Frito Feet isn’t harmful. However, an overwhelming odor, excessive licking, swelling, or discharge could be a sign of infection. If you suspect something is wrong with your dog’s feet, get them checked by your veterinarian.