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Why Do Dog Feet Smell Like Fritos?

November 22, 2021 7 min read

Have you ever cuddled up next to your service dog on the couch and caught the faint whiff of chips, only to realize, you’re not eating any? Well, believe it or not, what you are smelling is most likely your pup’s feet. That’s right, your service dog’s paws have the uncanny ability to smell like Fritos thanks to a combo of yeast and bacteria.

That Smell on Your Dog’s Feet is Bacteria

Although it might seem a bit, well, icky, it is not that surprising to find a host of different bacteria on your dog’s paws. When your service dog is busy walking around and doing his job, he is picking up all sorts of interesting things on the bottom of his feet. Plus, the fur that grows between the pads on your pup’s paws provides an excellent breeding ground for bacteria like Pseudomonas and Proteus.

These different bacteria grow and multiply on your pal’s feet and between his toes and basically, set up camp. The smell comes in when your service dog’s sweat combines with all the bacteria that are hanging out on his feet.

Time for a quick science lesson: When humans sweat, the perspiration meets with different bacteria that are present on the skin. This mixture of bacteria and sweat is what actually causes body odor, not the perspiration itself. Interesting, right?

However, unlike humans, who can sweat from pretty much anywhere, your service dog only sweats through his paws. When the sweat mixes with the bacteria on your dog’s feet, it produces the doggy version of BO. But why Fritos?

The answer to that question isn’t all that mind-blowing. The bacteria on your service dog’s feet simply happen to cause an odor that resembles corn chips, or you might even think it smells more like popcorn. It is a matter of personal preference. Are you hungry yet?

Should You Be Concerned?

Service dog paw smells like fritos

Most of the time, if your service dog has some stinky feet, it is not a major cause for concern. Whew! In fact, it’s fairly common. The bacteria that most often cause the trademark Frito smell are pretty normal, although their names might sound alarming, and they are frequently found on a dog’s feet.

However, in some cases, the corn chip scent can be caused by an underlying issue, mainly a yeast infection. This is especially likely if the odor is particularly strong and accompanied by other symptoms. If your service dog has a yeast infection, it most likely originated in his gut before spreading to other parts of his body, very often this includes the feet.

There are a lot of different things that can cause a yeast infection including allergies, stress, diet, antibiotics, various health issues, and changing environmental conditions. Here are some signs to keep an eye out for to see if your service dog might have a yeast (or another type) infection:

  • Your dog is constantly licking or chewing his paws, which indicates he’s suffering from a lot of itchiness and discomfort.
  • Your pup is scratching himself like crazy, and there are no obvious signs of fleas or other outside causes.
  • Your dog has scaly or discolored patches on his skin.
  • Your service dog seems to be very tired or fatigued. He might even seem a little out of it.
  • You notice a strong, foul odor on your dog’s paws (beyond the normal, faint Frito scent).
  • Your dog has additional infections.
  • You notice any kind of swelling or discharge on your pup’s paws.
  • Your dog is shaking his head frequently; another common area for a yeast infection to spread to is a dog’s ears.

If you believe that your service dog has an infection or injury of any kind, it is best to consult with your vet right away. The most effective way to treat the infection is to first learn what is exactly causing it. Your veterinarian can perform an exam and what is known as a scraping test to help diagnose the condition and offer proper treatment and any necessary medications.

How Do You Get Rid of The Frito Smell?

How to get rid of the frito smell on your service dogs feet

While most of the time your canine companion’s personal cologne is no big deal, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If the fact that your service dog smells like a bag of chips makes you frown or just makes you want to snack too much, there are a few things you can do to reduce the odor:

  • Regularly wash your service dog’s feet in a mild shampoo, rinse thoroughly, and make sure the paws are completely dry.
  • You can also use pet wipes or even baby wipes to clean your pup’s feet in between baths.
  • Keep the hair on the paws shaved and trimmed, especially the hair between the pads; this will remove the prime breeding ground that bacteria love so much.
  • There are a variety of foot soaks on the market specifically designed to help with odors, so this could be another option if your service dog has a strong case of Frito Feet. Beware different recipes for making your own foot soak, though. Many of them call for mixing vinegar with hydrogen peroxide, which can create a harmful effect if not done properly.

If your service dog continues to make you crave Doritos, Fritos, or any other snack food, you can always seek out the help of an expert. Find a professional groomer that can lend you a paw, or if all else fails, grab a clothespin for your nose. Overall, your service dog is more than likely perfectly fine. In fact, he’s all that and a bag of chips.

If you have questions about your service dog, or perhaps are in the process of registering your dog as a therapy, emotional support, or service animal, then contact us today. Our specialists are highly trained and knowledgeable and here to help you and your service dog every step of the way.

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