Stinky Paws: Why Do My Pet’s Feet Smell Like Frito’s?

Closed up Thai stray dog's paw.

Most of us don’t enjoy getting up close and personal with our pet’s body odor. Even the cleanest among them still has that unmistakable doggie or kitty smell. But if you have ever gotten a whiff of your pet’s feet, you may have noticed something peculiar about it. That’s right! They smell like corn chips.

If your pet’s feet smell like Frito’s, you may wonder if something is wrong. Is it normal? Thankfully, the team at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital of Brooklyn is here to explain this phenomenon and why it occurs in so many pets.

The Mystery of Frito Feet

The good news is that there is a reason behind that smell and typically there is nothing to worry about.

If the scent of corn chips lingers on your furry one, it’s generally caused by bacteria. To be exact,Pseudomonas and Proteus are the bacteria responsible for the yeasty smell. When you couple this normal and naturally occurring bacteria with whatever you pet walks through each day, you may be in for some serious odor.

Additionally, your dog’s natural reaction to walking though muck is to clean the area with their tongue. Inside your pet’s mouth is a cornucopia of bacteria and microbes that are then deposited on the skin. This combination increases the odor, which can range from mild to disgusting.

If the bacteria are in balance, though, there is nothing to be concerned about (aside from the weird smell).

When the Feet Go Foul

There are times when the smell signals an underlying medical condition. If the smell is putrid or there are conditions that coincide with the odor, it should be examined by your veterinarian. Some red flags with your pet’s paws to watch for include:

  • Putrid smell
  • The ears also have an odor
  • Inflammation 
  • Injury
  • Pus or scabs on paws
  • Excessive licking or biting of paws

Keeping the Paws Healthy

Paw care is something that many pet owners overlook, but is an essential need to keep them healthy and looking great. 

You can do this by wiping off your pet’s feet and legs when they have been outside. Use a warm, damp washcloth and a mild soap suitable for furry ones. Regular baths are also a great help in keeping your pet smelling and looking their best. If your pet is out in nature a lot, you may want to enlist the help of a professional groomer, who will also check for parasites and other skin, coat, ear, and paw problems.

Don’t forget to keep their nails clipped, since long nails can cause injury and discomfort. When it is hot outside, remember that asphalt and concrete heat up to dangerous temperatures. Stick to cooler times of day for a walk, or opt for some dog booties for protection.

My Pet’s Feet Smell like Frito’s

If your pet continues to have paw troubles and the stink is noticeable, we are here to help. If your pet’s feet smell like Frito’s, chances are, they are okay. But having them examined can give you peace of mind, knowing whether there is a health condition at work or not. Keep those furry feet happy and contact us