What is Frito feet? How does it happen?

‘Frito Feet’ is incredibly common and normal. If you haven’t noticed that smell before, go ahead and give those paws a sniff right now. Chances are those little toe beans are wreaking of corn chips. 

Hence the name ‘Frito Feet’. 

Some people love this smell, others are repulsed by it. Whatever side of the fence you’re on, it’s important to know that this smell is completely natural. Read more to learn about where that smell comes from, when you should worry about it, and how to manage that paw funk.

What Makes Dog Paws Smell Like Fritos?

While we humans sweat through our pores, dogs sweat through their paws. Imagine if you did not shower or wash your body regularly. You’d start to smell pretty foul. 

Dogs are no different.

The reason dogs’ feet smell like Fritos is because of the bacteria accumulating under their feet, mixed with the molecules of their saliva. Pseudomonas and Proteus are bacteria that gather on the paws. Saliva activates the odor. This smell is yeasty, which gives off the scent of salty corn snacks.

Your dog’s paws are likely to smell even more chip-esque after being outside in the mud, in the dirt, or anywhere with water. Have you noticed that your dog’s paws are extra stinky after a good romp outside or playing with others for an extended period of time?

You can thank sweat and whatever else is on the ground for that.

Since dogs don’t wear shoes (except for the occasional booties), their paws endure and pick up almost anything they touch. Think of various debris, bugs, animal urine, animal feces, and other kinds of bacteria.

We know—it’s gross.

Although disgusting, there is little need for concern. This smell is for the most part a sign of a healthy and active dog, however, there are some instances in which Frito Feet can get out of control or signal a deeper health issue.

Is ‘Frito Feet’ Dangerous?

Frito Feet is pretty normal, yet somewhat foul, and can be dangerous in certain instances. Since your dog’s paws are full of bacteria and fungi, open wounds on the paws can become a problem—especially if your fur baby is in poor health or immunocompromised.

If your dog has a cut or a wound on its paw that won’t heal, then it’s time for medical attention. If your dog has a horrible smell coming from its paws (a different, rotting sort of smell), then it’s also time to call your veterinarian. Swollen and inflamed paws are a legitimate cause for concern as well.

If your animal is experiencing discharge from a wound on the paw or an injury to the paw that won’t heal, consider talking to your animal doctor immediately.

Can You Get Rid of Frito Feet?

Frito Feet is a natural thing for our doggos. The smell does not mean anything is wrong with them or that they aren’t healthy. As stated above, there are very specific instances where Frito Feet can become an issue, but those situations are rare. 

However, if you’re wanting to reduce the corn chip smell, there are a few different methods you can take.

1. Keep your dog’s paws dry.

If they’re out playing in the rain, mud, water, etc., make sure to wash off their feet when they come into the house and dry immediately with a towel. If you have dogs born with water sports in their blood (golden retrievers, labradors), you might have your work cut out for you. We’re looking at you too, Jack Russel owners.

2. Wash your dog.

When bathing your pup, make sure to get in between the webbing of their paws. Scrub the tough skin of the paws, but gently. Keep in mind that bathing your dog more than once a month can strip his or her protective oils from their coat.

It’s important to note that excessive bathing will not eliminate Frito Feet. Bathing will simply decrease a bit of the smell for a short period of time.

3. Trim long fur between toe beans and on paws.

Long hairs between the paws and on the feet of your animal can contribute to bacteria growth. Make sure to snip up excessive long hairs on the paws and in the web of their feet. The shorter the hairs, the less able those hairs are to reach the ground and accumulate dirt and debris.

Dogs are funny, silly, wonderful creatures who come with a slew of their own quirks. As long as your animal is happy and healthy and not experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, Frito Feet really isn’t much to worry about. Clean those paws if the smell bothers you, and if not, let your furball live life as he or she does.

It’s a dog’s life, afterall.