Despite the weird looks you get from people who don’t own dogs when you mention that your pup’s paws smell like Fritos, you aren’t crazy. Many dogs’ paws do smell like Fritos (or popcorn, depending on who you ask). The reason why they have that smell is rather mundane, but we’ll get to that.
It should go without saying, but if your dog’s feet are excessively stinky or swollen or have a discharge, a trip to the vet is definitely in order.
Assuming we’re talking about a normal eau-de-cornchip scent, the real culprit behind Frito feet is bacteria that grows on your dog’s feet, specifically Pseudomonas and Proteus. Unlike humans, dogs only have sweat glands on the pads of their feet and a few by their nose. That’s why they need to pant to cool themselves off. The hair on your dog’s feet provides a great environment for the bacteria to thrive, grow, and multiply, leading to the famous yeasty smell.
If you aren’t the type of person who enjoys that smell, washing and shaving or carefully trimming the hair on the bottom of your dog’s foot can help prevent overgrowth of bacteria and should reduce the scent. When in doubt, go to a professional groomer for help!