Pet owners know that putting up with certain smells is par for the course. But if you’ve snuggled up on the couch with your best pal and noticed a corn chip smell, you may have looked at your snack bowl instead. If that’s the case, you may have already figured out that the corn chip smell is emanating from… your pet’s feet! That’s right, Frito feet is a thing.

But what causes this phenomenon? And should we be doing something about it? Keep reading for some explanation and tips from Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital

It’s Natural

The answer to why pet’s feet smell like corn chips is relatively straightforward and usually nothing to worry about. Bacteria and yeast live on the skin, and when in balance is healthy and normal. The frito feet smell can be attributed to bacteria called Pseudomonas and Proteus, which give off a yeasty odor that can smell like corn chips. 

Along with the bacteria, dogs walk through the yard, neighborhood, and house, lick their paws to groom themselves, and also sweat through their paw pads. This all can converge to create the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to flourish. 

Keeping The Feet Clean

Although the corn chips smell may not be harmful, it’s a good idea to know something about pet paw health and wellness. 

Regularly wipe off or wash your pet’s feet with lukewarm water and a hypoallergenic shampoo. This may help eliminate sweat and other debris that can lead to bacterial overgrowth. Make sure to dry your pet’s feet thoroughly. Pay special attention to paws after coming inside from the outdoors.

Good grooming can go a long way toward keeping your pet healthy, in general, and paw care is no different. Hair that grows in between the toes can also trap dirt and sweat, causing smelly feet. Trim long hairs in between toes and, while you’re at it, trim long toenails too (or ask your groomer to do it). If you can hear your pet’s toenails clicking on the floor as she walks, it’s time to trim them shorter. 

When Frito Feet Is A Problem

Many owners don’t mind their pet’s frito feet. Some report that they even like the corn chip smell on their pet’s feet. But if the smell becomes overwhelming, it’s time to look into a bigger problem. 

Yeast overgrowth is a potential problem that can lead to secondary infection. This typically only occurs in animals with compromised immune systems or allergies. If your pet falls into one of these categories, it’s smart to be vigilant. 

Here are some signs of a potential problem:

  • Frito feet smell from the ears as well as the feet
  • Excessive licking of the feet or other areas of the body
  • Biting or chewing at the paws or feet
  • Raw or red ears or skin

If you notice any of these signs, please call us to schedule an appointment right away. 

We hope you enjoyed learning about the reasons behind the Frito feet smell, and please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns.