A dog's paw

A common complaint among dog owners is the fact that their pets smell funny. Whether that’s due natural oils or a quick roll on something questionable outside, there are many reasons why a pet may smell bad. 

One of the more common questions has to do with why a pet’s paws smell like Fritos. This unusual odor has a few explanations and The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center is here to give you the low down.

Why Do My Pet’s Feet Smell like Corn Chips?

Ah, that corn based snack has a distinct odor to it. And if your pet’s feet are emitting something similar to this scent, it may be cause for concern. The good news is that this smell is generally nothing to worry about.

Here are a few reasons behind why your pet’s feet and paws smell funny.

  1. Bacteria Your dog’s feet (and the rest of their body) contain various types of bacteria. When they are healthy and balanced, there is nothing to be concerned about, aside from the fact that they can produce odor. The yeasty bacteria that cause the corn chip smell is typically Proteus or Pseudomonas.

  2. SweatAnother reason why a pet’s feet smell off is that they sweat through the paws. Pets do not have natural sweat glands like we do and rely on panting and sweating through the paws to achieve temperature regulation. As your pet sweats, the sweat becomes lodged between the skin and the hair. The furrier your pet is, the more likely this is to happen.

  3. Environment If your pet just returned from a natural area or woods, they may have picked up traces of whatever they walked through. Since our pets traverse all sorts of terrain and love to walk across murky water, mud, feces, and other debris, it can make for a potpourri of stench. 

How to Curb the Stink

There is no way to completely eliminate odor from your pet, as their natural oils and bacteria will make them smell, well, like a dog. But there are some ways you can lessen the smell.

  1. Shampoo your pet often – If your pet is outside a lot or has excessive hair, you may wish to shampoo them once a week. If your pet’s coat becomes dry, switch to a conditioning shampoo and groom them once every few weeks.
  2. Keep them trimmed – Fur between paw pads and toes can collect more oil and bacteria. Keep toes, feet, paw pads, ears, and other smelly places trimmed and clean.
  3. Wipe their feet – Whenever they come in from walking or playing outside, use a damp cloth and wipe off their feet and paws. 
  4. Inspect their feet – Take a close look at your pet’s feet and paws each week, during their normal grooming. Look for signs of inflammation, injury, swelling, etc.

We hope this overview gives you some relief, knowing that that Frito smell is normal. If we can answer any additional questions about why your pet’s feet smell funny, or if you would like to make an appointment, please call us