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Why Do My Dog’s Paws Smell Like Fritos?

By Cuteness Team
published: March 22, 2019 - updated: March 31, 2020 • 2 min. read
why do my dog's paws smell like chips

Dog paws are cute, soft, and smell like … Fritos? Why?

Bacteria and Yeast

While gross, many attribute bacteria and yeast as the causes. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Basically, your dog’s sweat glands are concentrated in their paw pads, which, surrounded by fur, create damp crevices ideal for bacteria and fungi to grow. The smell is a byproduct of that.

Yeast, in the fungi family, is one contributor. The other is two kinds of bacteria — Pseudomonas and Proteus. Some describe a popcorn smell, while others describe a corn tortilla smell.

Do Frito paws actually smell good?

While polarizing, there is a lot of evidence on the web that people enjoy the smell. If you love Fritos, then you’re bound to love the Frito smell on your pet’s paws. Another reason people love Frito paws is due to positive associations with our dog’s smell. When interacting with our dogs, the brain gets flooded with dopamine (the “feel-good” hormone) and oxytocin (the “bonding” hormone). Because of the good mood these hormones induce, we associate a positive interaction with smelling our pets.

Frito paws: good or bad?

Dog Paws Smell Like FritosFrito paws, by themselves, are not bad. If the smell increases in intensity suddenly, your dog may have a yeast infection, in which case, you would want to call your vet.

Otherwise, the bacteria isn’t harmful to dogs or humans. In fact, a study found babies born into homes with dogs have a more diverse microbiome (the totality of microorganisms that exist in their bodies) than those without dogs. A more diverse microbiome indicates better immunity, and, possibly, less allergies.

If the smell does bother you, you can bathe your dog more (although you should be careful not to over-bathe them), but the smell will most likely never go away.

If you really don’t like the smell, take heart: the smell is usually more prominent in the morning, because the Proteus bacteria (the corn chip-smelling bacteria) appears to intensify after a dog has been sleeping. We’re not sure why, but we think it’s because the heat that a sleeping dog generates creates prime conditions for bacteria to flourish.

Want to learn more about your pup? Check out How to Cure Skin Yeast Infection in Dogs, How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?, and How Do Dogs Show Affection? at!

This article is provided by Cuteness—the go-to destination for passionate pet parents. Cuteness has answers to all of your health, training, and behavior questions – as well as the cutest, funniest, and most inspiring pet stories from all over the world.

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By Cuteness Team

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