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3 Reasons Why Do Dogs Smell Like Fritos And 5 Health Tips 

3 Reasons Why Do Dogs Smell Like Fritos And 5 Health Tips 

What is that smell?… Oh no… Is that my dog? Why do dogs smell like Fritos, and is this normal?

Our dogs are known for all kinds of unpleasant smells, but we love them anyway. Still, when we sense our dogs having a corn chip smell, this is probably where we get weird out. 

Believe it or not, dogs smelling like chips isn’t that uncommon. Sure, maybe you haven’t sensed it before, but veterinarians deal with the “Why does my dog smell like Fritos?” question quite often. 

What is the reason behind this pungent scent, and is there a way you can prevent it? Is this a medical emergency or just a normal dog smell?

Let’s find out!

Why Do Dogs Smell Like Fritos?

All dog owners are familiar with different kinds of stenches. From bad breath to the odor that comes from a dog that has just rolled in poop, we think we’ve seen – or, rather, smelled – it all! 

Then the distinct Fritos smell comes in and leaves us all shocked. The first thing most of us would probably think is that our dog ate Fritos, and this is why he is now smelling like one. Then we smell his breath and see that this isn’t where the corn chip odor is coming from.

Believe it or not, the true source of the smell comes from the pup’s paw pads. This foot smell can be so strong it might seem like it’s coming from your pooch’s entire body! 

I have to admit when I heard about this the first time, I thought it was the funniest thing I’ve learned. 

The exact cause of the smell, however, can be less funny. The true reason behind the chips smell is most likely an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Here are the three causes of your dog smelling like Fritos: 

1. Bacterial Overgrowth 

portrait of the pug dog breed

One of the reasons behind the terrible smell might be a bacterial infection.

Your dog has natural microbes that live on his skin. Paws are especially prone to having a certain number of bacteria on them, as they are sweaty and filled with moist creases. 

While these microorganisms have an important role in keeping your pooch’s skin healthy, sometimes things can go wrong. If the level of bacteria rises for any reason, this can be an issue. 

Two types of bacteria that are important for this topic are Pseudomonas and Proteus, which are generally harmless but produce isovaleric acid. This volatile compound is known for its bad smell that can resemble corn chips.

These two bacterias exist naturally in our environment, and they can reach dog’s paws.  

Even though Proteus  and Pseudomonas don’t cause damage, no bacterial growth is considered good. If the smell persists, take your dog to the vet to get appropriate treatment. 

2. Yeast Overgrowth 

Another type of microorganism that dwells on our dog’s feet is fungus, better known as yeast.

Yeast thrives in warm and moist environments, and your dog’s sweaty feet can seem like a five-star hotel. 

Another characteristic of yeast is that it can produce a cheesy smell. Even humans can suffer from yeast infections on their toes, and it will smell just as bad.

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    Fungal infections  can happen on other parts of a dog’s body, as well. If this occurs, you might even notice some hair loss on affected spots. 

    In fact, this is probably the most common cause of a yeasty odor that might resemble Fritos. 

    Mild yeast infections can go away on their own, but more severe cases require veterinary assistance.

    3. Poor Paw Hygiene 

    dog's paw

    Finally, probably the main cause of smelly feet is poor hygiene. 

    All dogs need paw cleaning from time to time. If you don’t take good care of your dog’s feet, he’ll likely experience microbial overgrowth. 

    Both yeast and bacterial infections can be prevented in great measure if you make sure to clean your pup’s feet regularly. 

    Not to mention how dirty feet on their own can smell!

    Is The Fritos Smell Dangerous?

    While we might be very surprised by the smell, the “Fritos paws”, as some like to call this occurrence, is not really dangerous

    As mentioned above, the smell is caused by microbial overgrowth. Sure, this isn’t a good thing, but it really isn’t that dangerous—it’s just a sign of poor paw hygiene. 

    Still, this doesn’t mean you should let your dog be and not do anything about it. While the smell itself isn’t dangerous, allowing microbes to breed can lead to skin problems or difficulties walking

    Dog owners often don’t think much about dog feet and leave them be, ignoring the possibilities of infections and health issues. 

    Why Are Dog Feet Prone To Infections?

    dog's nose and paw

    As you might’ve noticed, dog’s feet are one of the parts of a dog’s body that are very prone to infections. 

    The first reason behind this is constant exposure. Feet are always on the ground, collecting dirt and debris and, with them, various kinds of microorganisms. This includes all sorts of pathogens that can cause infections. 

    Also, the dog’s feet are extremely moist. This is because a dog’s sweat glands are located on its feet. If they were elsewhere, the fur would stop the sweat from evaporating, which wouldn’t be very helpful. 

    Unfortunately, this means that paws are prone to moisture retention. The sweat can get trapped between the toes, and this is a great playground for bacteria, fungus, and other types of microorganisms. 

    Not only that, but paws are one of the few parts of a dog’s body that aren’t covered in fur. Because of this, they are extremely sensitive, although we might not think of them that way. 

    Tips To Keep Dog’s Paws Healthy

    The best way to make sure your pup doesn’t smell like Fritos is to make sure your dog’s feet are clean and healthy. 

    Some dogs hate having their paws clean, I get that. Some of the things you can do to try to calm them include giving them sweets or toys while wiping their feet. 

    You can also take them to the groomer every few weeks. A professional will know how to deal with dogs that aren’t the friendliest during cleaning sessions. They can also inspect a dog’s skin and coat to make sure everything looks healthy. 

    If you don’t feel like giving the money for a groomer, I fully understand. I myself prefer doing regular grooming on my own, as this can help strengthen the bond me and my dog have. 

    Here are a few things I would do to make sure my pup’s paws are healthy and stink-proof:

    1. Trim Their Nails

    The first thing you should do is make sure your dog’s nails are regularly trimmed. 

    In nature, wolves would keep their nails trimmed by walking and running around on grass and all kinds of surfaces. However, our beloved Fidos live on carpets, and their nails are not used to this. As a result, they need some help when it comes to maintenance. 

    If nails are left untrimmed for too long, they can become overgrown. This can hurt a dog’s paw, and in time, it can create open wounds. 

    When bacteria and fungus that naturally live on your dog’s feet get in touch with such a wound, it can lead to infections. Not only do infections smell terrible, but they can also end up being extremely dangerous. 

    2. Moisturize

    I’ve spent the bigger part of this article telling you how dog’s paws are sweaty and moist, so now you might be surprised to read this headline. Why should you need to moisturize something that’s already wet?

    While your pet’s toes and the area between them are, indeed, rather moist, the same cannot be said for the entirety of your pup’s paw. Quite the opposite – the dog’s pads are quite dry as they’re constantly exposed.

    If the paws are too dry, the skin can crack. This, once again, can lead to infections and to the Fritos smell. 

    There are several available products intended for this purpose that you can find at your local pet store. However, natural products such as coconut oil can work just as well. 

    Gently massage a small amount of product onto your dog’s paw. Repeat the process weekly to ensure his skin is healthy. 

    And if your dog loves to put his paws on you, you’ll notice the difference right away!

    3. Avoid Hot Surfaces

    One of the reasons you wear your shoes outside is to prevent your feet from getting burned when the pavement is too hot during summer days.

    Sure, our dogs don’t have as sensitive feet, but this doesn’t mean they cannot get burned if they walk on hot surfaces. 

    Burned paws become dry and prone to cracking, and we’ve already established that this, too, is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. 

    Avoid walking your dog during the hottest hours of the day in the summer. You can always touch the asphalt with your fingers to check whether it’s too hot. Another option is to try to walk your dog on the grass only wherever possible. 

    You can also buy specialized shoes for your dog so you can safely walk him no matter the time of day. These shoes can also help keep his paws clean. 

    Just remember that not all dogs will be happy about wearing shoes. Don’t force them onto your dog if he isn’t feeling like having anything on his paws. This will only stress him out and cause more harm than good.

    4. Keep Them Clean

    A good way to prevent your dog’s paws from smelling and remove any possible stench is to clean his legs whenever you come back home from a walk. 

    This doesn’t have to be a deep clean; Just wipe the paws with a wet cloth, and you’re good to go.

    Pay close attention to the space between the dog’s toes and underneath his nails. This is where most dirt gets stuck and also where bacteria and fungi can develop.

    If you’ve been walking your pup during rain or if he walked on a really dirty surface, you might also wash his paws with dog shampoo or Dawn dish soap.

    By regularly cleaning your dog’s paws, the chances of them developing the terrible corn chips smell are next to none.

    5. Pay Attention To The Smell

    Finally, it’s always a good idea to regularly pay attention to your dog’s paws and sniff them to make sure they aren’t having a bad smell. 

    A great idea is to do this during playtime or while your dog is sleeping. Even if your dog is sleeping with his bum next to you, I am certain you can manage to get a sniff of his paws!

    This is also a good idea to check the overall condition of his feet and to make sure he doesn’t have any ticks or allergic reactions. 

    If you notice your dog’s feet smelling like Fritos, don’t panic. This typically only means that he might need some additional cleaning and nothing more. 

    Of course, if you suspect anything is wrong, you should take your four-legged companion to the vet ASAP. 

    Should You Try To Get Rid Of The Smell?

    So, now you know why do dogs smell like Fritos, but how do you get rid of the smell – and should you do this in the first place?

    The smell itself isn’t likely to bother your pup, despite their strong sense of smell. However, I believe you don’t feel like smelling corn chips whenever your pooch approaches you, especially now that you know what’s causing it. 

    The good news is that it is safe to try to get rid of the funky scent and that cleaning your dog’s paws should be rather effortless. 

    You can use unscented wipes and wipe your pooch’s feet from time to time. A good wipe should be enough to get rid of all microorganisms and, with them, the smell. If you don’t have wipes, use a wet towel.

    While you might be tempted to use heavily perfumed products, try to stay away from them. Such products typically contain artificial ingredients, which can worsen the condition or even hurt your pup.  

    You can also give your pooch a quick bath, with a special focus on his feet. 

    Finally, if you notice the smell persisting or you see some other symptoms, such as your pooch biting his paw, maybe it’s time to schedule a visit to your vet.

    A professional can determine whether the smell is something to be worried about and if there are some underlying health conditions that need addressing.