Why Do Dog Feet Smell Like Fritos?

People are smelling their dogs’ paws — and it turns out they smell like corn chips. Here’s why your pet’s paws smell funny.

Do your dog’s paws smell like corn chips?

So many people have asked the question “Why do dog feet smell like Fritos?” that it deserves a decent answer.

Of course, my immediate response is always, “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!

Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterial culture. By: CDC/Wikipedia Creative Commons

Natural Bacteria

That “corn chips smell” is usually caused by bacteria that are completely natural yet give off a kind of yeasty odor, particularly the bacteria Proteus or Pseudomonas.


Many people who have dogs say they actually ENJOY this smell, so you can relax.

However, if your dog’s foot odor seems particularly stinky, something else may be at play here…

Dogs sweat through their foot pads.

Let’s Talk About: Sweat

Dogs sweat through their foot pads. Just as 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 those 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, bathe your dog. Use pet shampoo on each foot, lathering it up and then rinsing it completely. Shampoo all 4 paws well to remove sweat and debris. This should get rid of the bad dog paw odor.

So, corn in dog food causes the corn chips smell? Nah, that’s probably a myth.

Corn in Dog Food?

Some people swear that the dog Fritos odor comes from 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 pet’s overall health, so what’s the harm in upgrading foods? (Also: Be sure to stay on top of dog food recalls.)

Here’s Meghann with her dog-paw observations:

Celebrate Your Dog’s Natural Smell

So why do dog feet smell like Fritos?

The short answer: It’s probably just your dog’s natural odor.

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.

If it seems like a big deal to you, then consider scrubbing and clipping around those grubby little paw pads regularly. Otherwise, celebrate everything that makes your pet special — including dog paws that smell like Fritos.

C’mon, look at this guy’s smile!

Who cares if my paws smell like corn chips, anyway? By: Nelly2007

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