Why Do My Dog’s Paws Smell Like Fritos?
Dogs can have different odors emanating from different parts of their body. There are smells that come from the ears, the mouth, and the rear. What is most puzzling to most pet parents is that very distinct corn chip-like smell from their paws. So, why does my dog smell like Fritos?
Possible Causes of the Odor
There are some pet parents who think that the yeasty, corn chip-like odor in their dog’s paws is due to its diet. They believe that many dog foods today contain too many corn fillers that these ingredients find their way into the paws of the pet. Here are the possible causes of the odor from your pet.
If your dog smells like corn chips, it has nothing to do with its diet filled with corn products. The most plausible explanation is the colonies of bacteria in your pet’s paws. These bacteria are natural residents of the animal’s skin. They do not produce disease, unless your pet cuts its paws. The injury will cause some of these bacteria to move inside and cause localized tissue inflammation.
Two of the most common bacteria that reside on the dog’s paws are Proteus and Pseudomonas species. These germs are present in the environment, both in the soil and in the water. Your pet can pick up germs whenever it goes outdoors.
As bacteria proliferate in the animal’s paws, they excrete different substances. Some of these substances provide the distinct smell that our nose registers as “Fritos”.
There is another plausible explanation for the smelly issue. Yeast species can also colonize the paws. These microorganisms are also part of the dog paw’s normal flora. They do not cause disease, unless they grow in sufficient numbers. This can only happen if the dog’s immune system is now functioning very well.
A well-functioning immune system can check the abnormal proliferation of yeast species. If the immune system is compromised, there is a tendency for yeast organisms to multiply at a very rapid pace. They can produce many byproducts of metabolism, including substances that have a somewhat corn-like scent.
If you notice the Fritos smell in your dog, it could be a sign of a yeast infection. This can be secondary to another ongoing infection that resulted in a compromised immune system.
Another possible explanation as to why your dog’s feet smell like Fritos is because of sweat. It is true that we do not see our canine friends sweating a lot like we humans do. However, they do sweat. It is one of their ways to regulate their body temperature. Dogs sweat only in certain parts of their body that are not covered with fur. These include the paw pads and the nose.
Canine sweating traps salty fluids in the animal’s fur between its paw pads. The fluid can interact with the microorganisms in the paws. The interaction can produce a very bad smell. It is a lot similar to body odor or underarm odor among humans. Dirty armpits can amplify the bad smell emanating from sweat.
- An Underlying Problem
Smelly paws may not be normal at all if there are other signs that you can see in your dog. For example, increased licking of its paws can be a sign of pain or discomfort. Licking is the pet’s way of trying to soothe the discomfort. There can be inflammation as well.
Dogs can step on sharp objects and cause paw pad injuries. The toenails can also get injured, causing an inflammatory reaction. These reactions can produce a bad smell because of the interaction between immune system cells and germs that may be invading the injuries. The same can happen in paw sores and melanoma. Ulcerations leave an opening in the dog’s skin, allowing germs to enter. The microorganisms can produce the foul smell.
What You Can Do
There are several things you can do to address such a malodorous issue.
- Trim the Fur
It would be best to trim the fur in between your pet’s paw pads. This will not eliminate the stench. However, it can reduce it. Trimming the fur will prevent trapping the sweat on the dog’s paw pads. Use a pet hair clipper to trim the fur. Make sure to separate the paw pads by inserting your thumb in the space between the pads.
- Paw Bath
Try giving your canine friend a good paw bath. Ask your veterinarian if you can use an antibacterial or anti-yeast shampoo for dogs. These products can help inactivate or kill bacteria or yeast that may be present in your canine friend’s paws. If you are wary about such products, then you can use your dog’s ordinary pet shampoo. Make sure to shampoo each paw very well. It is also critical to dry them completely. Bacteria and yeast need a damp environment for them to proliferate.
- Veterinary Visit
If trimming the fur and giving a paw bath does not solve the smelly problem, maybe you need a more professional opinion. Your veterinarian can help determine the actual cause of the issue. He will have to take note of other signs that may indicate an underlying medical problem. Examples of these signs are crusted or flaking skin on the paw pads, redness, broken toenails, swelling or lumps in between the pads, and hair loss, among others. If there is an infection, the veterinarian can prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.
- Embrace the Smell
Most pet parents consider the Fritos-smell of their dog’s paws to be normal. As long as there are no other manifestations that signal a more serious health problem, it would be best to embrace the smell. Consider this as a unique “signature” of your canine friend. You can always tone down the smell by observing a more regular hygiene regimen for your pet if the smell becomes unbearable.
Why does my dog smell like Fritos? It could be because of the presence of bacteria, sweat, or yeast. It is not a real concern unless you can see other manifestations from your dog. Having a veterinarian check it out should help you feel safer about your pet.