Frito feet: Why do my dog's paws smell like Fritos? Can I stop my dog's paws from smelling like corn chips?

Frito feet: Why do my dog's paws smell like Fritos? Can I stop my dog's paws from smelling like corn chips?

Frito feet:
Why do my dog's paws smell like corn chips? And should I be worried?

Frito feet! I know it sounds corny, but if your dog's paws smell like corn chips, then your dog has Frito feet. Full disclosure, Hazel has Frito feet sometimes, and so did Keira. Although TikTok is popularizing the term, this is something that I've heard pet owners mention in veterinary practices. January 29th is the perfect day to talk about why your dog's paws may smell like Fritos. Why is that? To celebrate National Corn Chip Day! Yes, that's a thing, and yes, it's today. Let's bite into what causes Frito feet!

Why do my dog's paws smell like corn chips?

Some people ask "why do my dog's feet smell like Fritos?" But I've also heard pet owners ask "why do my dog's paws smell like popcorn?" Let's just call it a 'corny' smell. The corn chip smell on your dog's paws is caused by bacteria called Pseudomonas and Proteus. Dogs sweat through their paw pads, and this furry, dark, moist place hosts microbes yeast and bacteria that are always present. A slight scent is usually normal and harmless. Yeast and bacteria like Proteus emit a sweet odour. Pseudomonas' odour is wee bit fruitier. That's what makes the Frito feet smell. Besides sweating, Frito feet can be caused by licking the paws, swimming or spending time in the water- anything that creates moisture on the paws.

Should I be worried that my dog's feet smell like Fritos?

If the smell intensifies it may be a cause for concern. It is usually a sign of an overgrowth of the bacteria. This could be due to an allergy (environmental or food allergy) because the adverse reaction can warm the paw pads, therefore increasing the moister and breeding the bacteria faster. No matter what adverse reaction your dog experiences from an allergy, you should try to treat the symptoms so the condition doesn't worsen and your dog doesn't feel discomfort. It's okay if your dog looks like a snack, but she shouldn't smell like a snack.

Frito feet: Why do my dog's paws smell like Fritos? Can I stop my dog's paws from smelling like corn chips? Saint Bernese

Sometimes this smell can indicate an infection, so if your dog's paws smell like corn chips you should examine them for wounds or injuries. There could be an underlying health issue you aren't aware of that is causing the smell, so if it intensifies please don't ignore it. I recommend getting in touch with your dog's veterinary practice if you notice the smell becomes stronger, or if your dog's feet have never smelled like this before.

How do I stop my dog's feet from smelling like corn chips?

Your veterinarian will have the best advice based on your dog's unique situation. If the smell has become stinkier you should reach out to your veterinary clinic as soon as possible. Allergies are complex because they can not be cured. You have to manage the symptoms and to do this you need to get a better understanding of the allergy. Dogs can be allergic to food, medications, or things in the environment. Your vet may advise you to use medicated shampoo or wipes on the paws, do a food trial using a hypoallergenic food, or start your dog on an allergy medication. It's case specific, so don't make assumptions- ask a veterinarian. Especially because the smell may be caused by an infection, or wound that won't heal, so your vet will need to treat your dog.

If the smell is not intensifying but you want to do some basic Frito feet prevention because you don't like the smell of corn chips, you can bathe your dog and wash your dog's paws more often, and dry them really well. Once a month is good for a bath. If your dog's feet get muddy or dirty, give them a rinse and a good drying. Good general advice to reduce Frito feet is to make sure your dog's paws are always dried thoroughly. Trim the fur on the feet and toes, but be careful trimming between the toes because some dog breeds have webbed feet. Trimming your dog's nails can also help. And of course, you can put boots on your dog when she goes outside, which is also hilarious.  

Are some dog breeds more prone to their paws smelling like Fritos?

Yes! MOUNTAIN DOGS! Saint Bernards, Bernese mountain dogs, Newfoundlanders, and of course Saint Bernese like my sweet and salty Hazel, grow long fur on their paws and are more prone to Frito feet. Hazel is my little corn cob in more ways than one. Other heavy-coated dogs can also be more prone to Frito feet. This includes America's sweetheart: the golden retriever. Frito fluffy. 

Since this bacteria is present in warm, dark, and moist areas, dogs with deep skin folds often have a corn chip smell. Breeds like pugs, bulldogs, and Shar Peis, can smell like corn chips, but the smell may not be coming from their feet. I call this smell 'Frito folds'. You heard it here first... I think.

Frito feet: Why do my dog's paws smell like Fritos? Can I stop my dog's paws from smelling like corn chips?

Take it from me; there are worse things your dog could smell like than corn chips. But it's still good to ask why!

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