A boxer with its paws raised

Have you ever noticed a strange, yet somehow familiar smell emanating from your dog’s paws?

You’re not alone. Often referred to as ‘Frito’ feet, this curiosity is real and can have dog owners scratching their heads and wondering why their dog’s paws smell like corn chips! 

At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we never shy away from life’s tough questions! Stay tuned as we tackle the strangely pleasant phenomenon of Frito feet.

It’s Only Natural

It is the combination of harmless bacteria and fungi that is responsible for that yeasty (Frito-y) smell on your dog’s paws.

Just like humans, dogs are covered in these organisms and as they walk around, both indoors and outdoors, they pick up dirt and other debris that settles in between their toes.

Once combined with the sweat that exists there naturally, you have the perfect growing environment for the odor-causing offenders – hence, the Frito feet smell.

When Frito Feet Become A Problem

Most pet owners don’t mind the subtle smell of Frito Feet, but if the smell becomes overwhelming, it can indicate a yeast overgrowth or infection. If it is accompanied by other symptoms, it can indicate an underlying health condition. 

While yeast infections in a dog’s paws are relatively common and usually treatable with medication, they can be especially problematic for pets with allergies or compromised immune systems by causing serious secondary infections or dermatological problems that can be difficult to treat. Schedule your pet for a check-up with our veterinarian if you notice any of the following:

  • Corn chip smell coming from the ears
  • Excessive licking/chewing at the paws or other parts of the body
  • Raw or red ears or skin
  • Injury to the paws
  • Hair loss

Proper Paw Care

Grooming your pet’s paws should be a part of your regular pet care routine. Keep your dog’s tootsies at their best by:

  • Bathing your dog on a regular basis at home (or by our professional groomers), paying special attention to the areas in between the toes. Use a pet-specific, hypo-allergenic shampoo and dry between the toes afterwards.  We carry these shampoos in our lobby and online stores, and are happy to help you select the one best for your pet   
  • Keep the fur between the toes trimmed to minimize odor-causing sweat and debris buildup. Depending on the dog, this may best be done by a professional groomer. Your dog’s nails should also be clipped on a regular basis (if you can hear their nails clicking on a hard floor, they are too long).
  • Make sure the paws are wiped clean and thoroughly dried when your dog comes in from outdoors – especially if the paws are wet or muddy.

Whether your dog has Frito feet or not, the paws play an important role in your dog’s comfort and life-long mobility. Let’s keep them healthy! Don’t hesitate to give us a call for more information or to schedule an exam with our veterinarian or a grooming appointment in our Grooming Salon. We are always happy to help your pets have great lives!