dog laying on bed

Have you ever wondered why your pet’s feet smell strange? You are not alone. Many pet owners wonder why their pets emit certain smells from their skin and their feet. One peculiar odor owners report is that odd “Fritos” smell emanating from their dog’s feet. If your pet’s paws smell like corn chips, never fear! 

The team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is here to explain this odd phenomenon, as well as give you some tips to keep those feet clean!

Funky Feet? It’s Natural!

The odor on your pet’s paws is typically nothing to worry about. Bacteria and fungi live on the skin and, when in balance, is healthy and normal. The “Fritos feet” phenomenon is from a bacteria called Pseudomonas and Proteus, which give off a yeasty odor that can smell like corn chips.

Along with these factors, pets sweat through their paws. Yes, that’s right. You can imagine how you smell when you forget your deodorant, right? The odiferous smell is nothing more than sweaty paws, coupled with microbes from your pet’s tongue when they clean them, which further accelerates the bacteria – and the smell

When Is It a Problem

Pets obviously pick up debris, dirt, bacteria, and other culprits that contribute to dirty feet. This becomes a problem when the paw pads are injured or your pet is immunocompromised or in poor health. Then, this opens the door for infection.

Signs that your pet’s paws may be unhealthy include:

  • Inflammation
  • Foul smelling odor
  • Cut that doesn’t heal
  • Recent injury to the paws or feet
  • Discharge

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, they should be seen by a veterinarian. Untreated infection can be serious and cause permanent injury to your pet.

Keeping the Feet Clean

To keep your pet’s paws at their best, here are some simple and effective ways to keep them clean:

  • Bathe your pet regularly, paying attention to the paws and between the paw pads.
  • Keep your pet’s feet dry.
  • Trim long fur on the feet and paws.
  • Wash your pet’s feet after a walk through mud, debris, grass, and other dirty environs.
  • Consider using pet booties to keep your pet dirt- and injury-free.

If you would like more information about pet paw health, please call us. We may not be able to rid your pet of “Frito feet”, but we can help you keep those tosies and their best!