dog paw close up

Have you noticed a distinctive odor emanating from your pet’s cute little paws? Perhaps something reminiscent of corn chips or popcorn? No, you aren’t going crazy – your pet’s paws really do smell like they’re edible!

If you’ve ever wondered why your pet’s paws smell like Fritos, you’re not alone. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are asked this question routinely, so we thought we’d shed a little light on the topic!

Why Your Pet’s Paws Smell Like Fritos

Just like us, our pet’s bodies are covered with a healthy and (usually) balanced array of bacteria and yeasts. These microscopic organisms are responsible for the various odors the body produces – the bacteria Pseudomonas and Proteus are most likely behind why your pet’s paws smell like Fritos.

Why the paws, you might ask? Those adorable appendages are your pet’s gateway to the world, carrying them through all kinds of terrain and all types of conditions. Dirt, sweat, oils, and the moisture from grooming all combine to create the perfect home for a thriving bacterial colony (all natural, remember!).

The Good, the Bad, and the Stinky

Although the frito odor is normal, an injury, infection, or bacterial imbalance can lead to serious problems if not addressed. Give The Pet Experts a call if you notice any of the following:

  • A foul smelling odor emanating from the paws or ears
  • Excessive licking of the paws or other areas of the body
  • Cuts, abrasions, or other injuries to the paw
  • Swelling 
  • Raw or red ears or skin 

Paw Care 101

Taking care of your pet’s paws is an important part of a regular grooming regimen. Follow our tips to keep your pet’s paws looking and feeling their best:

  • Bathe your pet on a regular basis, making sure to wash between the toes. Dry the feet thoroughly afterward
  • Trim the fur around the feet and in between the toes. Make sure to trim the nails regularly
  • Wash and dry your pet’s feet after they’ve been outside in rain, snow, or mud 
  • Deicing salt and chemicals are especially tough on the paws, so pay special attention to keeping paws clean and dry during the winter months
  • Consider purchasing properly-fitting pet booties for further protection against inclement weather

As always, your team at Wheaton Animal Hospital is here for you! Don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns regarding your pet.