Why do dog feet smell like fritos?


Woman holding a happy dog ​​that smells like fritos in her arms with the fluff logo

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If you cuddle your dog regularly, there’s a good chance you’ve got a friendly paw in the face more than once. And if you’ve ever gotten a whiff of a certain spicy smell that strangely resembles corn chips from that paw, don’t imagine things.

Frito feet are a common complaint among dog owners (once they’ve overcome the embarrassment of admitting that they naturally know what their pup’s paws smell like). And while frito feet can be a benign disorder, it can also be a sign of infection.

Why do my dog’s paws smell like corn chips?

There are many smells that could waft off your dog’s paws without attracting your attention, but corn chips are likely not one of them. And unless your dog recently scoured your pantry looking for chilli toppings, fritos have nothing to do with frito feet. According to Bonnie Bragdon, DVM, MS, co-founder of the Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association, the culprit for the corn chip-like odor emanating from your dog’s feet can be as harmless as your puppy’s natural oil production (i.e., bothersome but benign BO) . However, frito feet can also be a sign of something more problematic: a bacterial or yeast infection.

So how can you tell if your dog’s smelly paws are normal or need closer examination? Use your nose and your eyes. If you can faintly smell the smell of corn chips while sniffing your dog’s paws up close, then you probably don’t need to worry. However, if you can smell those Frito feet from across the room, that’s not normal, says Bragdon. And if you get a heavy whiff of corn chips from your dog’s ears or his entire body, those are also signs it is time to call your vet.

According to Bragdon, healthy paws will be visually dry and have pink skin that has not broken. Conversely, if you see signs that your dog is in pain or see red skin and open wounds on his paws, immediate veterinary attention is needed. “Reddish discoloration of hair and skin can be a sign of excessive licking due to itching and discomfort,” continues Bragdon. “And blackish discharge can be a sign of infection.”

And after all that, let’s get back to the main question: why do your dog’s paws smell like fritos? Determining the root cause is crucial in treating your dog’s condition before it gets worse. For example, knowing that your dog has a yeast infection and treating it with antifungal medications may not be enough. That’s because yeast infections are often secondary to an underlying allergy that needs treatment.

Bragdon also advises that if you see any open wounds or sores, bleeding, foreign objects, lumps, or bumps on your puppy’s paws, you should take your dog to the veterinary clinic. “What appears to be infectious or allergic could be a wound or cut that requires immediate care,” she explains.

Frito Feet Cure: How to Smell Your Dog Better Again

As always, the diagnosis determines the treatment. If your dog’s frito feet are caused by an infection, they may need medication (e.g., antifungal or antibiotics) or topical treatment (e.g., shampoo, ointment) to clear the problem. And as mentioned above, infection can be a sign that there are deeper problems that need to be investigated.

But if your dog simply has smelly feet caused by natural oils, there are steps you can take to keep that corn chip smell (and its underlying culprits) at bay. Bragdon recommends wiping or washing your dog’s paws after the walk to make sure they are free of dirt and to clean them of allergens – a step that’s especially important if your dog has allergies. She also says it’s important to trim your dog’s nails appropriately to avoid snagging, breaks, and ingrown nails. “Paws should be relatively low-maintenance,” explains Bragdon. “So if your dog’s aren’t, it’s time to take him to the vet.”

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