Dear Labby: Why Do My Dogs Feet Smell Like Fritos?

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Dear Labby_oldDear Labby,
Whenever I sit down to pet my dog, he typically rolls over on his back so I can rub his belly. When he does he sticks his feet right in my face and I notice his paws smell like Fritos. What’s up with that?


Dear Bandito,
We should have mentioned this in our SlimDoggy Health Check: Bacteria post since the cause of the odor is just that, bacteria. Think about it, your dog’s paws are all over the place, in dirt, mud, water, across other animals dried urine…you don’t really want to think about where they have been too closely.
Dogs also sweat through the pads of their feet, so you have this bacteria build up, combined with the moisture of sweat. And, unlike humans, they don’t wash their hands paws…that bacteria just stays there and builds up and emits an odor.
There’s typically two types of bacteria found on dogs feet: Proteus which emits the corn chip odor or Pseudomonas which is similar, but maybe a little sweeter smelling.
So, there’s nothing to worry about, it’s a natural odor.


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  1. At least with some breeds of cats, Cornish Rex, Sphynx, Devon Rex etc, Frito smelling paws can be a sign of Malassezia (Yeast) overgrowth. Might be worth having a vet check it out if there is any sign of dark, moist buildup in between the pads or on the nail beds.

  2. Just don’t chew on them. Paws are not really Fritos!
    Emma recently posted…Spring And ChickenMy Profile

  3. Good to know :o) …. they call me Sir Cheese-paw sometimes :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog TV TUESDAYMy Profile

  4. Fascinating post. I knew about paws and sweat, but didn’t put two and two together on the potential for bacteria buildup. I may have to take a whiff of Sam’s paws and see if there’s anything there! 🙂
    Monika recently posted…Nose PrintsMy Profile

  5. hahahaha Frito feet! too funny!
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    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…I think I found a “hare” in my dog treats!My Profile

  6. I have always enjoyed what I call “sweet grass toes.” I knew about the sweat factor but was unaware of bacteria being the cause for this pleasant odor. I think people should become familiar with what is normal for their dogs and not worry about it. I would only become concerned with a noticeable change.

  7. Mmmmmm…love the smell of bacteria-ridden paws in the morning! 😉
    Blueberry’s human recently posted…Flowers in the DesertMy Profile

  8. Only Sampson’s feet smell like Fritos. BUT Delilah, Delilah has a VERY strong Frito smell and some of it seems to be near her face. But considering what that dog eats, it doesn’t really surprise me.

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    Jodi recently posted…Shhh, Stop Barking – Barks and BytesMy Profile

  9. I have smelled other things from the dogs lately and none as nice as Fritos. 🙂 Thanks for joining the hop!
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  10. I always wondered about that….good to know!
    Jan K recently posted…Questioning Pet Vaccinations (Part 1 – Why I Questioned)My Profile

  11. I don’t mind the Frito feet smell too much. It doesn’t happen that often, but Haley’s feet sometimes do smell that way.
    Elaine recently posted…10 Easy Ways to Find Dogs for PlaydatesMy Profile

  12. I’ve heard the smell of a Basset Hound described that way. I don’t get it, but it has ruined Fritos for me. LOL!
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  13. One way I’ve been able to reduce the Frito smell from a “super sized” bag to a single serving smell is by having the hair between their paw pads trimmed regularly. This cuts down on the bacteria and reduces (not eliminates) that corn crunchy odor!
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…RUGER THE PEACEMAKERMy Profile

  14. Thanks for clearing this up, we call it cheeto feet!
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Nothing But Norman #89My Profile

  15. Thanks for solving the mystery! I may still smile at the odor’s similarity to fritos, but I won’t sniff as deeply any more …

  16. When Hobie was little, I would sniff his feet (yeah, I know, but I think you all understand!), and they smelled like Fritos. I would sing a song “I love puppy feet, I love puppy feet!” LOL!
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