You might feel a bit funny even thinking about this question, let alone Googling it.
But don’t worry, you are not losing your mind!
It is pretty common for puppies and adult dogs to have feet that smell like corn chips.
In this post, I will explain why your dog’s feet smell of Fritos (also known as “Frito feet“), then I will tell you if you should be worried about it (and how to solve it).
Why Do My Dog’s Paws Smell Like Corn Chips?
Your dog’s feet smell like Fritos corn chips because they are infected with one of two bacteria, Proteus or Pseudomonas.
If your dog’s paws become infected with either bacteria, they can smell like corn chips, often referred to as “Frito Feet” (named after “Fritos,” the brand of corn chips).
Some dog owners disagree and think the smell is more like yeast, while others think more like tortillas, popcorn, or similar food products made from corn.
However, most people agree that corn chips are the closest smell.
NOTE – If you prefer watching to reading, check out a qualified vet’s explanation of this smelly paw problem.
Just click on the image to find out why your dog’s paws seem to smell like corn-flavored chips (and what to do about it):
NOTE – You might like to read this post asking: why do dogs like feet so much?
Why Does Frito Feet Smell Worsts After Exercise?
Dogs sweat through their feet when their body temperature increases.
So if they have been running around and their feet have got all hot and sweaty, this can make the yeasty corn chip smell much worse.
If the smell is really bad, you might need to leave the dog outside or in the garage until their paws cool down and the odor isn’t as foul.
NOTE – You might like to take a look at this post about why dogs lay on your feet.
How to Get Rid of The Corn Chip Smell From Dog’s Paws
In most cases, getting rid of the bacteria causing this yeasty corn smell shouldn’t be hard.
Just follow these simple steps:
- Wash Your Dog’s Paws Regularly
- Dry Carefully After Washing
- Trim the Hair Between Their Pads
Let’s look at each in more detail, so you know exactly how to eliminate the Frito feet smell from your dog’s paws.
1. Wash Your Dog’s Paws Regularly
Using dog shampoo and warm water gives your dog’s feet a good clean.
Ensure you get between the pads with your fingers and give them a good scrub to wash away the smelly bacteria.
Take your time over this. If the dog doesn’t like it, give them some peanut butter or a treat to chew on as a distraction.
Related Post: Why Don’t Dogs Like Their Paws Being Touched?
2. Dry the Dog’s Feet Carefully After Washing
Always dry their paws thoroughly after washing to reduce the chance of more bacteria growing back.
You must dry between their claws and the gaps between their paw pads (sometimes called toe beans).
Use a cotton towel to get most of the dampness off, and then use some kitchen paper or tissue to get them even dryer.
If your dog lets you, you can even use a hair drier on low heat.
Just make sure you get them as dry as possible.
It’s essential to reduce the chance of more bacteria growing.
3. Trim the Hair Between The Pads on Their Paws
Trim the hair between the dog’s paw pads using scissors or clippers.
This will allow more fresh air into the feet, reducing the chance of bacteria growing there.
It will also make it much easier for you to wash and dry their paws.
Note – You should follow these steps once a day to eradicate the smelly bacteria. Then, you can drop it to once a week to ensure the smell doesn’t return.
If you do this for a few weeks, you should notice the smell of corn chips is either significantly reduced or completely gone.
Should You Be Worried About Frito Feet?
In most cases, Frito Feet is nothing to worry about, but if your dog has other issues with its paws, it could indicate something more serious.
For example, if you notice:
- Discharge such as pus.
- Cuts that don’t heal.
- Pain or tenderness.
- Crusty or flaky skin.
- Hair loss around the paws or lower legs.
- Bumps, lumps, or swollen areas.
- Loss of appetite or other general signs the dog might be unwell.
It would be best if you took your dog to the vet asap for a check-up.
If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this website lists helpful resources for charities to help you pay your bills.
(If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country, there is a lot of support for dog owners who are in difficulty).
Final Notes On Why Your Dog’s Paws Smell Like Fritos Corn Chips
Good hygiene should quickly get rid of the smell, but if the dog shows any other symptoms or you have any concerns about your dog’s health, please take them to see your vet asap.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!