Being in the constant company of dogs, their owners typically tune out certain things that may be off-putting to others. Dogs, after all, have some curious, eyebrow-raising behaviors, and in order to co-exist, we overlook their oddball ways.

Unfortunately, when dogs start to smell, it’s hard to ignore. When it goes beyond their trademark salty/sweet perspiration, a funk fills the room. Smelly paws are usually to blame for this whiffy scent, and if you couldn’t put your finger on it before, try to imagine your dog just walked on a bed of Fritos!

Yep, Fritos!

It’s true, the feet of some dogs can start to smell slightly corny. This may sound crazy, but there are actually reasons for this canine peculiarity.

Blame the Bacteria

Even the most tidy, pampered dogs have tons of bacteria living on the bottoms of their feet. After all, they walk around the house, neighborhood, park, and other areas without protective footwear (if you don’t count their winter booties). When they groom themselves, they leave traces of saliva on their feet and in between the paw pads. This soft, moist environment is perfect for bacteria and yeast to flourish.

Fuel to the Fire

Dogs also sweat through their paw pads to help regulate body temperature and stay cool. This moisture mixes with pseudomonas and proteus bacteria that’s found in water or dirt. This combination creates the secret recipe for smelly paws.

Picking up Popcorn

Fritos, Doritos, popcorn, and more are often used to describe a dog’s smelly paws. Now that we know bacteria is to blame for this unusual odor, what can you do about it?

Smelly paws are normal, but if the odor becomes overpowering, it’s time to do something. Is your dog over grooming their feet? Take a look at their paws – do you notice any signs of inflammation (redness), swelling, greasiness, or painful infection? If so, please let us know right away.

Correcting Smelly Paws

You can also soak your dog’s feet in lukewarm water and wash the paw pads with hypoallergenic soap. Thoroughly dry their feet and take care to trim any long hair between the paw pads. While you’re down there, take a look at the health of their nails and give them a trim if necessary (our full-service groomers are also happy to help!).

The bottom line is that smelly paws are perfectly normal in the canine world, unless the smell is indicative of a larger problem. If you have additional questions or concerns about your dog’s smelly paws, the team at New Haven Pet Hospital is always here for you!