Why Do Dogs Smell Like Fritos?

If your dog’s paws are smelling like Fritos, consider a bacteria like pseudomonas or proteus.


There are three primary reasons why your dog might smell like Fritos or other corn chips:

  1. He raided your stash and ate all your chips.
  2. His feet just smell that way.
  3. He has a bacterial or fungal infection on his paws, ears, or skin like pseudomonas or proteus.

Dog Frito Feet and Ears

Dogs naturally have a variety of bacteria and yeast living on their skin. Under normal conditions, these microbes live in harmony with your pup and don’t cause any trouble. If your dog’s feet have a slight eau de corn chip, don’t worry. This smell is just from the normal bacteria that end up on dog feet throughout daily life.

These “Frito feet dogs” will often have a reddish tinge to the skin and hair on their paws from licking and may have a greasy discharge. More extreme cases may also show swelling and flakey skin.

Ears are the other common site for yeast and bacterial infections. Ear infections can have a discharge ranging from oily black to flakey beige and everything in between. Along with the discharge and odor, your dog’s ears may also be red and irritated and you may notice frequent scratching and head shaking.

Home Remedies for Frito Feet Dogs

As long as there are no symptoms of infection, you can leave your pup be or just wipe his paws clean with a damp cloth and then dry them thoroughly.

But if your dog’s feet also show signs of irritation or you notice your dog is licking his feet a lot, something is amiss. Home remedies for dog Frito feet, such as mixing baking soda and apple cider vinegar with water for a foot bath, might help with the smell but will not necessarily address the underlying infection.

Instead, be smart. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Paw and ear infections are not an emergency, so you can wait for an appointment in regular business hours. Your veterinarian will take a swab of any discharge to look at under a microscope and identify the cause of the infection.

You will likely be sent home with topical medications to target your dog’s type of infection, like ear meds for ear infections and/or ointments or perhaps a medicated shampoo for paw infections. Systemic oral meds are reserved for chronic or severe cases. If your dog is prone to these infections, your veterinarian will also discuss strategies for preventing them, including routine ear washes or medicated wipes for paws.

Remember, a little dog Frito feet smell isn’t necessary a worry. The problems start when an infectious type of microbe moves in, or a health condition such as allergies or skin irritation allows normally harmless microbes to grow out of control.

When too many microbes build up in an area, however, they can cause irritation, discharge, and an unusual odor. Yeast and certain types of bacteria (including Pseudomonas and Proteus) can cause a distinctive odor that smells just like the beloved Fritos corn chips.

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Kate Basedow, LVT is a long-time dog enthusiast. She grew up training and showing dogs, and is active in a variety of dog sports. She earned her Bachelors Degree in English from Cornell University in 2013, and became a licensed veterinary technician in New York in 2017. She has been writing professionally about dogs for most of her life, and has earned multiple awards from the Dog Writers' Association of America. Kate currently has three dogs at home, as well as a cat, two zebra finches, and six ducks.