Other health problems

My Dog's Paws Smell Bad Like Fritos

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. November 11, 2020
My Dog's Paws Smell Bad Like Fritos

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Our dog's physical well-being is related to us through various signs and symptoms. A lackluster coat implies their immunity might be low. Open wounds show us they have suffered some physical trauma. What might not be as obvious to us is a problem related to smell. When standing, a dog's paws are far from our nose. Unless we get close, it is common we won't notice any bad stink, especially if we have other doggy scents to contend with. When we do notice our dog's paws smell bad, it might be the problem has had time to progress.

Certain smells of our dog's feet will mean different things. One common smell is the odor of corn chips. For this reason, AnimalWised looks into what happens when my dog's paws smell bad like Fritos. We also provide some other reasons why they may have stinky feet.

You may also be interested in: Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like Fish?
  1. Why do my dog's paw pads smell?
  2. Reasons why my dog's paws smell bad
  3. Why does my dog's paws smell like Fritos?
  4. Recommendations for smelly dog paw pads
  5. Tips to stop your dog's paws from smelling

Why do my dog's paw pads smell?

A dog's foot pads are both sensitive and tough. They are tough enough to allow the dog to walk over various types of terrain, but the skin contains nerve endings and can be sensitive to the touch. The skin on the paw is also keratinized. This means it shares some of the toughness of their nails since they are too are made of keratin. However, it is still skin and will need to be looked after as such.

Dogs have a layer of fat under the skin to cushion their feet when they walk over hard surfaces. This makes them sturdy, but it is also possible for a dog to have sensitive paw pads. Often we do not see problems with a dog's paw pads until we notice their behavior changing. This is the case when we see our dog keeps licking their paws.

In regards to odor, we should know that a dog's paws shouldn't necessarily smell nice. They walk around all day picking up scents from the ground and even digging in places where they can pick up certain smells. Also, a dog's feet are one of the few places on their body where they have sweat glands. This means they are even more likely to smell on a hot day.

Also, since the paws come in contact with the ground, the dog can stand in something which adheres a smell. This can even include their own feces. However, they will also lick to clean their feet when they are dirty.

When a dog's paws smell bad, there may also be health and hygiene problems causing the odor. This is especially the case when they stink like Fritos.

Reasons why my dog's paws smell bad

There are a few common reasons why a dog's feet stink, but some are related to others. The main reasons for smelly dog paws include:

  • Stood in something: as we stated above, if the dog stands in something smelly when they are on a walk or exercising, it is understandable they will have stinky paws.
  • Poor home hygiene: if the dog lives in a home which is not well-kept, it is likely they will pick up smells on their feet. This is the same if we keep them outside, but do not keep their area clean.
  • Poor personal hygiene: dogs are not quite as fastidious as cats when it comes to personal grooming, but they will try to keep themselves clean. If they do not clean their paws when they get dirty, it is possible there is a psychological or physical reason for their lack of hygiene. For example, dogs will often neglect their grooming when they are stressed.
  • Infection: a bad cut or even an abscess on the dog's paws can lead to a foul smell when the wound begins to fester. These can often happen when a dog walks over sharp objects such as broken glass. Our article on how to treat a dog's paw pad injury can help you know what to do to avoid this.
  • Disease: if the dog has an immune problem or is otherwise run down by disease, it helps to proliferate the growth of bacteria. This can lead to bad smells on their paws. This is because both their body cannot always combat an infection and the dog is too tired to do much about it.

A factor which may affect their general body odor is their breed. Check out our article on the smelliest dog breeds to see which are the worst contenders.

My Dog's Paws Smell Bad Like Fritos - Reasons why my dog's paws smell bad

Why does my dog's paws smell like Fritos?

While the above reasons for stinky dog feet pads are general, there is a specific reason why they might smell like Fritos. Two main types of bacteria are picked up from a dog's environment and accumulate on a dog's paws. These are proteus and pseudomonas bacteria.

The reason why a dog's paws may smell like Fritos, Doritos or any other type of corn chip is because these products are known for their yeasty smells. Yeast infections are caused by fungus which often give off the bread-like smell similar to corn chips. However, proteus and pseudomonas bacteria can also provide this kind of smell, especially when mixed with sweat.

As we said, dogs only have working apocrine glands on some parts of their body, the feet being one of them. When the sweat mixes with the bacteria, it can give off this funky odor. Dogs will never completely remove bacteria from their bodies, but excessive accumulation will make the smell stronger. This is why we should not be too sensitive to the smell, but pay attention in case it becomes stronger.

Recommendations for smelly dog paw pads

Dog paws will lose elasticity and conditioning over time. For this reason, the paw pads of a puppy can look quite different to a senior dog of the same breed. However, this in itself shouldn't cause them to smell like Fritos. The reason age may be a factor is that the dog is tired more easily and struggles with mobility to clean their feet properly.

We need to take over more care for our dogs as they get older and maintaining paw care is no exception. We need to clean them more often if they become too sedentary and provide regular checkups in case they have health problems.

We should maintain hygiene for our own home and provide a clean space for them to walk. When we walk the dog outside, we should pay attention to their feet in case they have stood in something they shouldn't. Knowing how to clean their paws properly will help reduce Frito smell.

If we walk our dog across particularly bad terrain, you may reduce the smell if they wear dog shoes. However, in warm weather this might be counterproductive if they make the dog's feet more sweaty than usual.

Finally, since the dog's health and mental well-being can affect whether their feet smell, one of the most important aspects is basic care. Ensure we provide them with the right nutrition, provide them with enough opportunities to exercise and be observant for any health problems. Take them to the veterinarian if you feel the dog's physical or mental health is compromised.

My Dog's Paws Smell Bad Like Fritos - Recommendations for smelly dog paw pads

Tips to stop your dog's paws from smelling

Since Frito smell on a dog's paws is normal, in many cases, we shouldn't do anything different. However, if the stink becomes very strong, we can provide some tips to help them smell better. They are:

  • Bathe them properly: this doesn't mean bathe them all the time. If we wash a dog too much, it will remove natural oils from their skin which work to protect their coat and their health in general. However, if we don't clean them when they are stinky, it can proliferate fungal infections and bacterial infections.
  • Trim hair: since the hair around your dog's feet can help collect bad smells, ensure they are trimmed properly to prevent this. You can do this when you trim their nails to save time.
  • Use bacterial wipes: we may not be able to clean the dog any time they go outside, but using dog-friendly antibacterial wipes, we can prevent smells without giving a full bath.

Whether they smell like Frito corn chips or not, you will want to ensure your dog's paws are kept well-cleaned. You see how this is done in our AnimalWised video below:

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog's Paws Smell Bad Like Fritos, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

  • Carlson, L. D., &. Giffin, J. M. (2002). Practical manual for canine veterinary medicine. Madrid: Editorial el Drac.
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My Dog's Paws Smell Bad Like Fritos