A dog shows his paw.

Dogs all have a bit of doggie odor to them. They get into just about anything and everything when outdoors and love to roll around in things we’d like them to avoid. But if you have ever been close enough to your dog’s feet to get a whiff, you may have noticed that they smell faintly like corn chips. This “Frito feet” phenomenon is something we hear about a lot from dog owners. 

The good news is that this strange odor is pretty normal among canine companions, and the team at The Pets Place Animal Hospital can help clear up the mystery of this curious odor.

Bacteria, Debris, and Fungi, Oh My!

Bacteria and fungi (mostly harmless) live on your pet’s skin, including the paw pads. As long as this combination doesn’t produce a visible overgrowth, it isn’t something to worry about, but it does produce a yeasty smell. The bacteria responsible are called pseudomonas and proteus. 

Along with bacteria, yeast, and microbial deposits, dogs traipse across dirt, mud, standing water, dog and animal waste, and other debris. No wonder their feet don’t always smell pleasant!

When The Smell Is More Serious

There are times when your pet’s paw odor can signal that there’s a health concern. Certain conditions of the skin, such as a result from allergies, parasites, or other illness can cause an array of odors that are outside of the norm. Some signs that your pet may have a more serious condition include:

  • Putrid or overpowering odor
  • Dry skin or scaling/flakes
  • Open sores that won’t heal
  • Swelling
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Foreign body lodged in paw/between toes
  • Biting at paws

In these cases, your pet may have an infection or other skin condition, which your veterinarian will need to examine and treat. 

Tips for Better Smelling Paws

While the smell of corn chips may not be that offensive, there are ways you can keep your pet’s paws in great shape:

  • Bathe your pet once every few weeks, and especially after they have been hiking or out in a natural area.
  • Keep your pet’s nails at a good length and trim the fur around the feet and paws so they are neat and tidy.
  • Use a paw balm every once-in-a-while to help moisturize the skin.
  • Wipe your pet’s feet with a wet cloth after they’ve been outdoors.

Does Your Dog’s Paws Smell Like Corn Chips? 

If you would like more information on what to do to keep your pet’s paws in tip-top shape, we can help. We may not be able to prevent your dog from smelling doggie, but we can make sure they are in great health. Please give us a call with questions or to schedule an appointment.