Why Do Dogs Feet Smell Like Fritos?

Dog owners love having their pets close, cuddling with them, carrying them, and sometimes even sharing a bed with them. And because of that closeness, you’ve probably noticed that sometimes your dog smells like… Fritos.

Yes, you aren’t the only person who has noticed that your pup (in particular their feet) smell like corn chips from time to time.

If you’re curious as to why this is, we’ve got you covered.

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fritos?

The short answer for why your dog smells like Fritos is the bacteria that live on their feet. The bacteria (called Pseudomonas and Proteus) is completely harmless, but has a yeasty smell to it.

It’s normal and healthy for dogs (and humans!) to have bacteria on their feet. For dogs, this is the result of many different factors. Since most pups don’t wear shoes, they can collect bacteria on their paws quite easily.

Second, it’s a common misconception that dogs don’t sweat at all–in fact they can sweat through their paw pads (this type of sweating doesn’t help with cooling but instead softens the paw pad).

And, of course, dogs lick their feet to keep them clean. The salvia can mix with the bacteria and create more growth

All of these reasons combined can contribute to a higher amount of bacteria, resulting in a yeasty Frito smell. That’s why your pup’s feet smell like corn chips.

Side note, they might also smell like fish, but for different reasons.

Is It Bad That My Dog’s Feet Smell Like Fritos?

Like we said, the bacteria is naturally occurring and is the result of sweat, licking, and other factors.

If the Frito smell becomes too much, or you’d rather they not smell at all, you can help reduce this bacteria growth. One option is to wipe their paws off after being outside or using shampoo on their paws can help reduce build-up. If you do wipe off their paws, use something pet-safe like warm water, or paw wipes since they’ll probably lick their paws afterwards!

If your dog is a longer-haired breed, you can keep the hair between their paw pads trimmed. This can help with sweat buildup.

If your dog is licking their paws excessively, or even chewing or biting their paws, this might be cause for concern. Likewise, if other parts of their body smell strongly like corn chips, they might have a bacteria overgrowth and/or a food allergy. If this applies to you, or you sense that your dog is in pain or discomfort, you should take them to the vet. Your vet will be able to tell you whether there is an underlying issue that you need to deal with.

But in the majority of cases, Frito Feet isn’t anything to worry about.

For the vast majority of cases, having Frito feet isn’t something that you will need to worry about.

In Summary

So there you have it! That corn chip Frito smell is because of bacteria that live on your pup’s paw pads. This happens naturally, but can get overbearing if sweat or salvia contribute to too much bacteria growth.

If so, begin with paw hygiene to keep the bacteria at a manageable level. If the situation seems more serious, or if other parts of your pup smell like Fritos, it’s best to take them to the vet.

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.