Why Do Dog Feet Smell Like Fritos?

So many pet owners have asked the question “Why do dog feet smell like Fritos?” that it deserves a decent answer. Here's why your puppy's paws smell funny.

Puppy paws stink like corn chips So many pet owners have asked the question “Why do dog feet smell like Fritos?” that it deserves a decent answer.

Of course, my immediate response is always, “Um, have you forgotten to take your medication again?” Seriously, who goes around smelling their pup’s feet? I might do some crazy things, but I certainly don’t make it a habit to sniff my dog’s feet! What if this puppy stepped in something nasty outdoors?

Natural Bacteria

This corn chips smell is usually caused by some bacteria that are completely natural yet give off a kind of yeasty odor, particularly the bacteria Proteus or Pseudomonas. Many pet owners say they actually ENJOY this smell, so you can relax.

However, if your dog’s foot odor seems particularly stinky, keep reading…

Let’s Talk About: Sweat

Dogs sweat through their foot pads. Just as the people’s feet sweat — and more often than not have an odor — so do canine paws. The sweat becomes trapped in the coat between the foot pads and can become, shall we say, malodorous.

Trimming the fur between the foot pads is important for keeping the stench down. Without trimming, the sweat goes into the fur and permeates there. Spread the pads apart.

This is best done by putting your thumb between them. Using pet hair clippers, carefully trim the fur from around the pads. This will eliminate the buildup of all sweat and stink coming from the pads.

After trimming, your pet must be bathed thoroughly. Use pet shampoo on each foot, 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.

Corn in Dog Food? Really?

Some pet owners swear that the dog Fritos odor comes from (wait for it)… cheap dog food. They say that if the main ingredient in your dog’s brand is corn, you should switch brands to possibly decrease your pet’s foot odor.

Will this work? Not really. But a higher-quality diet should come with the added benefit of improving your dog’s overall health, so what’s the harm in upgrading foods? (Read Pets Adviser’s list of the top 10 dog foods, which includes ingredients to watch out for.)

Canine foot odor is a very common problem. As with humans, regular and proper hygiene will certainly help keep the stink down. Since no one has invented Odor Eaters for pets yet (perhaps this is another project for Allen Simon), the ball is in your court.

You will need to scrub and clip around those grubby little paw pads on a regular basis. If you don’t, you will definitely need to deal with the dog odor!

Why do dog feet smell like Fritos? The short answer is, It’s probably your dog’s natural odor. Embrace it! As one Pets Adviser reader tells us, maybe you should flip things around and ask instead, “Why do Fritos smell like my dog’s feet?

Bottom photo: CowCopTim/Flickr


Also Popular

Join the Conversation

Join the Conversation


  1. fritofeet Reply

    Um, even vets say it’s because of the natural microbes found on a dog’s feet, not because of sweat.

    1. David Deleon Baker Reply

      Correct. Thanks.

  2. doxiemom Reply

    I think you’ve missed that most of us LIKE the frito feet phenomenon!

  3. DoxieChic! Reply

    I agree with doxiemom. I love frito feet!

    1. CherylD. Reply

      I always called them frito toes :), Lab.’s are great ones for them.

  4. iluvfritofeet Reply

    dog feet smelling like corn chips or popcorn has nothing to do with corn being an ingredient in their food. the smell comes from natural occurring bacteria and yeast on their skin. The smell will be at its strongest the further away from bathtime you get. Many dog owners will use this to determine when its time for their dogs to have a bath. If the scent is strong its bathtime. My dogs feet smell atleast faintly of corn chips all the time, and I can assure you I do not feed them cheap food, there is definitely no corn, they are on a grain free diet.

    1. David Deleon Baker Reply

      Best commenter name ever, “iluvfritofeet”! Thanks for the info. We’ve looked into it and updated this post, which sorely needed to be updated. It seems that the bigger concern would be if a dog’s feet didn’t smell like corn chips, ha.

  5. David Reinke Reply

    my dog looked at me like i was crazy,cause i smelled her feet, and they didnt smell anything like a frito or a cheeto

  6. LovingThemFritoToes Reply

    Usually, for my dog, they only smell like fritos if she knows she’s in trouble. She’s a doxie.

  7. sierra linhares Reply

    i really don’t understand why dogs feet small like fritos. Do they want me to smell my dogs feet? “LIKE REALLY!!!!!”

  8. guest Reply

    I call my dog the Frito Bandito. His corn chippy scent
    is so cute.

  9. Daphne Reply

    Did you know that the smell of Fritos is actually supposed to decrease your appetite?

  10. Webgypsy Reply

    The wonderful paw smell that is described is usually found in Labradors or dogs with enough Lab to have Frito Feet. If you are depressed a big whiff of a frito foot will make the world right.