Why Do My Dog’s Paws Smell Like Corn Chips?

Posted by TF Oren
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Have you ever noticed that your dog’s paws smell like Fritos?

If so, you’re not alone. Many dog owners have noticed this curious odor. Fortunately, there’s no need to worry. The faint smell of corn chips coming from your dog’s paws is totally normal in most cases.

So why do dog feet smell in the first place?

People and animals – even healthy ones – are basically Petri dishes home to tons of bacteria and fungi. Our feet, particularly our pets’ feet, are always in contact with the ground, which is home to a variety of microbes. Dogs add to the vast array of natural bacteria on their feet when they lick their paws with their tongues, which are also home to a variety of microbes. Consequently, dog feet are crawling with all kinds of microscopic organisms, which can cause odor.

dog paws

The corn chip odor you might have noticed on your dog’s feet is usually caused by Proteus or Pseudomonas, two normal varieties of bacteria that emit a yeasty scent. It’s also possible that the smell is just your dog’s natural odor. Neither case is cause for alarm.

Another possible source of your dog’s foot odor could be from sweat glands. Roseann Lahey of Petful.com says:

“Dog’s sweat through their foot pads. Just as people’s feet sweat, so do canine paws. The sweat becomes trapped in the coat between the foot pads and can smell bad, but probably worse than corn chips.”


Lahey suggests trimming the fur between the paw pads in order to keep the odor to a minimum. If you don’t trim, the sweat soaks into the fur and spreads.

To trim the hair between the pads, spread the dog’s toes apart by putting your thumb in between them. Carefully trim the overgrowth fur around the pads using pet hair clippers. Doing so will reduce the buildup of sweat and other odor-causing bacteria in the area and help prevent stinky feet.

Once you’ve trimmed your dog, make sure to bathe him thoroughly to have the cleanest dog.

Lahey says:

“Use pet shampoo on each paw, lathering it up and then rinsing it completely. All four paws must be shampooed well to remove sweat and debris. This should get rid of the dog paw odor.”

dog paw

If the canine foot odor you notice is or has become foul, there could be several reasons for the change:

  • Foul, yeasty odor could indicate the presence of a bacterial or fungal/ yeast infection
  • A foreign body could be lodged in the paw, causing irritation or abscess
  • A skin tumor or sore has become irritated or infected due to licking
  • A toenail could be injured or infected

If you suspect one of these conditions could be at play, keep your eyes peeled for the following symptoms:

  • Crusty or flaky skin on pads
  • Excessive licking, hair loss, or redness
  • Lumps, bumps, or swelling on or between toes
  • Flaky, cracked, or broken toenails
  • Drainage coming from the surface of the skin or from a wound
  • Limping

If you notice any of these signs, there could be something more serious going on. Consult a veterinarian right away in order to determine the source of the problem and begin proper treatment.

Does your dog have “Frito feet?” Tell us about it in the comments section!

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Why Do My Dog’s Paws Smell Like Corn Chips?