A dog's paws on the ground

Yuck! Have you ever caught a whiff of your pet’s paws and wondered why they smell like Fritos? You are not alone! Many pet owners mention this strange corn chip aroma coming from their fur friend. It may seem like a mystery, but there are some answers to this smell.

The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital are here to give you the scoop on the corn chip phenomena.

3 Reasons Why Your Pet’s Feet Smell

Dogs carry a number of odors on their skin, and the extent of the stink depends on what they’ve gotten into, in most cases. While your dog may never smell like roses, you may wonder why their skin smells like corn chips.

  1. Natural bacteria  – Your pet’s skin contains fungi, bacteria, sweat, and other microbes that can create that corn chip smell. Most of the time, the balance of bacteria is healthy and the smell isn’t something to worry about. Corn chip scent is likely caused by the bacteria, Proteus or Pseudomonas, which are normally occurring bacteria. If there is a bacterial or fungal infection, it can create more than just a smell.

  2. Self-grooming – When your pet grooms, they will lick the skin and fur, including the feet. Couple the bacteria and fungi already on the skin with the deposits of saliva containing additional microbes, you have a petri dish of funk.

  3. Environment – If your pet has been traipsing through the mud or other natural area, chances are they will come home with the scents they’ve picked up. A good shampoo will alleviate the odor.

When the Stink Turns Sour

Sometimes foul odor from the feet and paws can spell trouble. If some of the following are present on your pet’s feet, then consult your veterinarian:

  • Foreign object or stick stuck in your pet’s paws
  • Bleeding and scabbing
  • Obvious signs of abrasion or injury
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Painful to the touch

These are situations when a smelly foot can signal a medical situation, Avoiding problems with your pet’s feet requires grooming, including trimming the fur around the paws, and keeping nails at a good length. It’s also a good idea to use protective dog booties or shoes when hiking or walking in inclement weather.

For more information about smelly feet, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.