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My Dog’s Feet Smell Like Corn Chips!


What do you mean, you’ve never smelled your dog’s feet?! Go do it now, we’ll wait…

Smells like corn chips, right? (or tortillas, or popcorn, or some other corn-based salty treat).

Besides puppy breath, it’s one of the better smells our dogs naturally produce. Although, once you find out why paws smell so delicious, you might not want to put your nose so close again.

Even the cleanest dogs have trillions of bacteria living on their skin. But dog’s feet, trampling through the grass and dirt, being licked, with moist folds of skin and fur between the toe pads, are breeding grounds for bacteria and yeast.

According to an article in Mental_Floss magazine,

All these micro-organisms give off their own distinct odors (they’re what give us BO), and the popcorn/corn chip smell on some dogs could be the fault of yeast or the bacterium Proteus, which are both known for their sweet, corn tortilla smell. Or it could be the bacterium Pseudomonas, which smells a little fruitier, but pretty close to popcorn to most noses.

Commonly referred to as “Frito Feet,” this dog curiosity is totally natural – unless the smell is overpowering or bad, your dog’s salty scented feet are nothing to be alarmed about.



89 Responses to My Dog’s Feet Smell Like Corn Chips!
  1. […] to rubbing my nose in a pile of poo, yet apparently this is a thing, and it even has a name, FRITO FEET. […]

  2. Breanna
    May 19, 2014 | 6:30 pm

    My dog naturally smells like berries right in between his eyes. He’s a 6 year old Scottish terrier and has always had this smell. I can’t complain.

  3. 妮娜
    April 9, 2014 | 5:41 am

    My dog is doesn’t like me smelling her feet!

  4. kathy
    February 18, 2014 | 9:36 pm

    I think it is stinky. Last night after our walk I washed his feet because the rock salt on the road (for ice…here in the icy north) seemed to be hurting his paws. Today we had a long walk in the snowy woods and tonight they are really stinky! Yeast infection makes total sense since I probably didn’t dry them well enough either time. Is it safe to give them yogurt? I didn’t think they should have dairy but I guess yogurt is different. I will try coconut oil though!

  5. Dana
    February 18, 2014 | 4:43 pm

    My Basenji mix has the same issue, his body has no odor, but the feet, we tease and say cone chips. That is the exact smell. I think it is from walking across his own urine and other dogs that he is trying to cover their scent with his.

  6. Brent
    January 26, 2014 | 8:53 pm

    Thats just raunchy! Why are people smelling their dogs feet? Yuk! Lmao! :-D

  7. David D
    January 6, 2014 | 5:56 pm

    My Yorkie has frito feet. I think it smells like dirty feet and feel like I should wash her. I read somewhere that soaking a dog’s paws in vinegar and water might help. I do that while I bathe her but she still has frito feet. Her food (Taste of the Wild) has plenty of probiotics in it but of course, being a Yorkie, she’s a picky eater. Not sure what to do to get rid of the smell. Coconut oil has done wonders for her itchy ears. Maybe it will help her feet (???).

  8. Megan
    January 2, 2014 | 3:10 am

    Am I the only person that thinks this is the MOST DISGUSTING smell on the planet? ! Not to mention that my poor dog is clearly in discomfort from it once it spreads from his feet, to his skin to his ears! It’s clearly a yeast infection and obviously easily treated;I let him lick a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt twice a day, for a few days until the smell is no longer around. My son gets Frito feet as well, also caused by yeast overgrowth being stuck in his sneakers for endless sweat filled hours.I think it ridiculous to say you LOVE how your pet is clearly affected by something so grossly wrong for them.I did mention that Frito chips smell horrible to me as well?

  9. Kerri
    December 13, 2013 | 7:12 pm

    I am 3 1/2 months pregnant right now and I thought it was just my increased sense of smell going into overdrive!! Couple of weeks ago, I was telling my husband, “Seriously! Giselle’s feet smell like Fritos!” It has been driving me INSANE and I don’t let her anywhere near my bedding anymore! I finally Googled it and found this page and you all made me laugh so hard I had to leave a comment!! I’m so glad to know it’s just not me going crazy and this is an actual thing that goes on with dogs! Knowing its more of a common circumstance I feel much better about this! Thank you all so much lol!

  10. Maria
    November 23, 2013 | 6:46 pm

    Haha! For years I’ve been saying that about my dogs! Frito paws!

  11. Christina
    November 1, 2013 | 9:19 pm

    I’ve been saying for years that my dog has “Frito paws” & people look at me like I’m nuts. I guess the joke’s on them… too funny

  12. Lisa
    November 1, 2013 | 5:41 am

    There’s a difference between bacteria and infection. It’s an odor which is the result of bacteria being present.
    There are good & bad bacteria, some necessary.

  13. Donna
    November 1, 2013 | 2:22 am

    So that’s why my lil dog has stinky feet.

  14. Grandma Bean
    October 31, 2013 | 6:55 pm

    My family used to laugh at me when I told them my dog had “pop corn” feet. Her feet always smelled like a freshly popped bowl of popcorn.

  15. Krissi
    October 14, 2013 | 1:54 am

    That is too funny…we call out dogs “Tostito Dogs” because of this smell…they are all on high-end diets with little/no corn ingredients…so I always wondered why they smelled like Tostitos!

  16. Kristin
    October 12, 2013 | 6:55 am

    Hmmmm – I always thought it was because of the very high corn content in the kibble…

  17. Cheryl
    October 12, 2013 | 1:06 am

    I just read Leslie’s comment, laughed til’ I cried. Anyway, I too am wondering if it is related to diet. Our small Shi Tsu is on cheap Wal-Mart food,(only because she really likes it better)and our big OES is on Diamond brand, no-grain food. The smaller dogs’s feet smell considerably stronger than our OES. Of course,my husband says the smaller dog’s entire body smells like one huge corn chip. But seriously, when I smell the feet of ouo OES, I really cannot hardly pidk up any odor at all and would not have thought of corn chips w/o the mention of it. And no, my nose is not broken, I actually have a very keen sense of smell. :)

  18. leslie
    October 11, 2013 | 4:22 pm

    crap, she ran through crap, why did i smell them?

    • Teresa
      October 27, 2013 | 6:57 pm

      haha, very funny!

  19. debbie livingston
    October 11, 2013 | 3:52 pm

    I’m not sure what to call it, but my carpet stinks from 3 labs stinky feet! yes kinda corn chip smell, but it sticks to carpet. I bath them at least every other week or so because the swim in our pool and a nearby river. any thoughts on how to get smell outta carpet?

  20. Susan S.
    October 11, 2013 | 1:29 pm

    We call it “Frito feet” in my house

  21. Susan S.
    October 11, 2013 | 1:29 pm

    We call it “Frito feet” in my house

  22. Amanda
    October 11, 2013 | 10:04 am

    My terriers feet smell like that but beagle-mix doesn’t. Interesting since they play in the same yard and eat the same foods etc…

  23. PRINCE
    August 2, 2013 | 9:07 am

    THe smell is called being a dirty white woman

    • Sarah
      October 11, 2013 | 11:08 am

      That is just completely gross and disrespectful. What are you even doing reading this article with a response like that??

  24. SoCal FosterMom
    July 31, 2013 | 1:39 am

    You can definitely smell a yeast infection, it smells just like a bag of yeast. Usually feet and ears accumulate it if it’s happening. Research will tell you a slight “frito” smell is normal bacteria dogs have on their feet, if it becomes a super strong smell you may want to get it looked in to.
    As far as infections and such on the feet, there is a Povidone Iodine soak that works really well. There are short videos of it on Youtube, but basically it’s the stuff they swab you with before surgery and you mix it in water to a black tea color and soak their paws for several minutes. I found a large casserole dish was a great size for my 22 lb dogs. Something to maybe look in to.
    And it can be pretty common to have yeast issues after antibiotics. They throw off all the natural flora in the dogs digestive system, so it would make sense it could manifest outside the body as well.

  25. HinRSF
    July 31, 2013 | 12:15 am

    My Doug’s torso smells like tortilla chips. We assumed it was part of his heredity being born in Mexico – something we really love about him. Thank you for a more logical answer!

  26. Carol Clemence
    July 31, 2013 | 12:08 am

    my dogs feet just smell sniffy gut i love them :-)

  27. Kim S (nerdgrl)
    July 30, 2013 | 6:32 pm

    My parents’ mini schnauzer smelled like Fritos! Didn’t know it was coming from her feet, but I would always come home, smell Elsa, and yell, “Fritos!” My mother was NOT amused.

  28. Judy H
    July 30, 2013 | 4:21 pm

    Dogs also sweat through their feet, that also gives the feet an odor.

  29. Renee
    July 30, 2013 | 4:12 pm

    My pups nickname is Taco. So I tell her she has taco toes!!

  30. Laurie
    July 30, 2013 | 2:25 pm

    Since your on the subject…help! My foster dog has a yeast infection on his feet so the vet put him on anti-fungal pills and anti-biotics. The round of anti-biotics are over but is still currently on the anti-fungal pills for 3 weeks now and his paws are not any better. He has visible yeast in between the toes and brown/black toe jam in the creases on the bottom of the pads. I clean them 2 times everyday then dry after. The pills and cleaning is not eliminating the yeast. I’m stuck! FYI – I also clean his paws every time he comes in from the grass and he’s on grain free and potato free food. Any other suggestions? Thanks~

    • Krista
      July 30, 2013 | 9:09 pm

      If the medications are not helping with your dog’s feet, you should go back to your vet and ask them to look for other issues. The feet issues could come from an unknown ear issue, another dog in the house issue, or even an underlying allergy. You may even need a referral to a dermatologist vet to completely clear the infection. Also certain breeds ( ie Westies, Shih Tzu’s etc) can be more prone to having skin issues like this.

    • J. Lochner
      October 12, 2013 | 1:19 am

      Antibiotics make a yeast problem worse in dogs.

    • Libby
      October 21, 2013 | 7:26 am

      Hi Laurie,
      I’m not a vet, but I do work in human healthcare and have had many, many dogs. I would ask the vet to take a scraping/culture/biopsy of the areas in question and send it off to a lab. In humans, we often recommend a soak of 10:1 water/bleach; it helps with both yeast and bacteria. In humans, this is recommended for patients with MRSA infections on their skin as well. I very seldom ever bathe my dogs, maybe once every couple of years unless they get into something stinky or dirty, and I have no skin issues with my current dogs; daily brushings seem to be sufficient. Occasionally, I dip their feet in the bleach solution just to keep that yeasty smell at bay.
      I hope this helps.

    • Debra Putman
      October 31, 2013 | 8:58 pm

      Wash his feet with a gentle soap, dry them, then put coconut oil on them. Rub it in real good. Do it twice a day and you should notice a vast improvement within a few days. It worked so well for the yeast in her feet that I tried it on my own fungal toenail. My left big toe was run over by a coworker in his office chair and became fungal during boot season that winter. That was 20 years ago. It even cleared that up.

  31. Elysse
    July 30, 2013 | 11:48 am

    My puppy’s feet smell like Doritos. Haha. We call his paw “Dorito Paw”.

  32. Theresa (Terry) Liddle
    July 30, 2013 | 10:54 am

    I love my dogs paws! I am forever just squeezing them or bringing them up to my cheaks to hug and then giving each a smooch for good measure! Haha. Honestly, who can resist a dogs paws?

  33. Andrea
    July 30, 2013 | 2:53 am

    Just found out what causes ‘popcorn feet’ as my son calls it (I actually think it smells like mouse/rat cage).It is treatable & it’s not good to leave your pet with the YEAST INFECTION as it can lead to other things eg; ear infections,bladder infections & skin problems. Google “eating these foods can cause dog yeast infection”, I found it really helpful. Of my dogs, 1 dog has had 2 ear infects & 1 dog has had 2 bladder infects. All 3 have ‘popcorn feet’ & will be treated naturally.

    • Misha
      July 30, 2013 | 10:38 am

      My girls are fed raw only (no grains whatsoever) and are on some awesome supplements as well, but still have a light corn chip scent to their feet. They have been checked and have perfect ears and no yeast infections, so I don’t think it’s necessarily an infection every time (and it’s never smelled like a mouse cage for sure! Always very pleasant and makes me crave chips and salsa!!!) Maybe the infection makes it stronger or smell like something else mixed with the normal Frito smell, but I think that most dogs have it regardless of health, age or diet. But I’m not a vet, so don’t quote me on this. ;) Only the owner and rescuer of dozens and dozens of dogs over the years! lol

    • Nancy Arnwine
      July 30, 2013 | 1:18 pm

      Well, I’ve got 11 dogs here and most of their feet smell like popcorn. The 3 youngest dogs here are 2 y/o, the rest range from 6-13 y/o. I’ve never had a problem with any of my dogs getting any type of yeast or ear infections. This being said, it doesn’t seem that the percentage of chance that it is going to cause a problem, of any type, is very small.

  34. GHFBostons
    May 11, 2013 | 10:56 am

    “Frito feet” hasn’t a single thing to do with whether or not there’s CORN in a dog’s diet. How ludicrous. I’ve raised & exhibited both AKC Boston terriers & Labrador retrievers since the early 1990′s & my dogs are fed very high quality GRAIN-FREE kibble & treats. They still have “Frito feet.” (which I’ve always loved – & NO, I don’t go sniffing other parts of my dogs, either) Heck, nursing puppies have “Frito feet!!”
    I doubt that feeding a RAW diet would change this, either, as humans also grow yeast in warm, damp, dark places… It’s just a natural part of life. What you’re eating has nothing to do with it.
    Yeast & bacteria happen. Duh.

    • JB
      May 14, 2013 | 12:32 am

      Well said!!!

    • Ridgeback Badu
      July 30, 2013 | 3:25 pm

      Very well said. My Champion Rhodesian Ridgeback is also on a high quality grain free diet and his paws have ALWAYS smelled like fritos. Even at 8 weeks old. Love that smell…LOL

      • Kathy
        July 30, 2013 | 7:34 pm

        I also had a popcorn feet dog since six week old!

    • Sarah
      January 8, 2014 | 10:13 pm

      Exactly. And like humans and most mammals, we walk around and are on our feet a lot. We humans usually have socks and shoes added to the smells and the sweat-making. But even when walking around barefoot whether outside or around the house or a day of many house chores (up and down to the washer & dryer), your feet don’t per se smell pleasant (as a massage therapist, I have had the displeasure of having feet smells from even clean healthy feet of super “clean” eaters). Some people sweat more or have certain meds or shoes that change the smell. Yes, some diets can affect skin issues and smells, but “Frito Feet” and human work feet smells don’t really mean they for sure have a bad diet or infection.

  35. sherrie pilkington
    May 7, 2013 | 6:02 pm

    My Golden Retrievers are fed home cooked, all natural food and they smell like…soda biscuits!! love that smell! So it’s not the diet – sorry

  36. KiKI
    May 7, 2013 | 4:23 pm

    My dog kinsleys feet smell like cheez its!

  37. mscoody
    May 6, 2013 | 9:22 pm

    I just smelled my kitties feet, but they don’t smell like Frito’s, they smell like kitty litter, LOL!

  38. too_bz
    May 6, 2013 | 8:52 pm

    I love dogs. But they thread on many unknown things, so why would one desire to smell a dog’s feet? I shudder to ask, but what other body part next?

    • JB
      May 14, 2013 | 12:31 am

      Relax, no need to get so cynical, it is just their feet we are talking about. It isn’t a big deal to smell their lovable little feet!

    • Nancy
      October 31, 2013 | 8:28 pm

      What’s next to smell? Ears!

      • shannon
        October 31, 2013 | 11:49 pm

        I actualy do smell my dogs ears in case of ear infection. He’s got the beagle floppy ears and sticks his head into everything. I was cautioned to keep an eye on his ears and the best way to notice an infection (since they can’t tell us) is to smell it out.

        • sshaffer77
          January 29, 2014 | 4:00 pm

          I did the same with my beagle too! I smelled his ears all the time and in his long 15 years of life, he never had an ear infection.

  39. JoAnn
    May 6, 2013 | 6:41 pm

    Use to call them Dori-TOES… her paws smelt just like Doritos..

  40. Jonette Dangerfield
    May 6, 2013 | 6:40 pm

    How do people not get that this is the result of feeding your dog corn-based dog foods. Switch foods and smell what happens.

    • Annette
      July 30, 2013 | 11:08 am

      My dog has NEVER been on a corn based diet, she eats high quality kibble and a brown rice/chicken/carrot mixture I prepare and her feet smell like corn chips!

    • Debbie Daniel
      July 31, 2013 | 2:46 am

      My dog is on a raw diet and she has frito feet. has nothing to do with diet.

    • clay
      August 1, 2013 | 2:03 am

      The smell is not related to diet. It is caused by the same bacteria that causes body odor in humans.

    • Laura Catherine
      September 27, 2013 | 10:37 am

      uhh I feed my dog blue wilderness, our veterinarian said it was one of the best to feed him, and its NOT corn based, our vet said the smell is yeast/bacteria and most dogs have it, nice try tho. No need to be a know it all.

      • stalecracker
        October 11, 2013 | 11:17 am

        Blue Wilderness is NOT the best diet for any animal, spend the same amount of money on Orijin. Research Blue and see where they source their ingredients….

        • Kathryn DeLongchamp
          October 11, 2013 | 1:35 pm


          • Michelle
            January 10, 2014 | 4:52 pm

            I swear by Orijen. It’s top notch.

      • ruby fifer
        January 30, 2014 | 7:41 am check it out the guy started this website after years of horrible alleges from dog foods and I believe many were suggested by vets… One of my families look one of my boxers last year as a result of blue buffalo they had just recently switched. They thought they were doing something “good” for her… Massive seizure not even time to call the vet!

    • Christopher
      January 29, 2014 | 4:55 pm

      Why do you insist it is because of corn based foods. The only corn my labs have ever had was by stealing it at a summer picnic. I always cook for my dogs and i assure you there are no corn products in there… I also make their treats once again no corn… And I smell Fritos all day long around here…

  41. Megan Lawrence
    May 6, 2013 | 5:49 pm

    When our boy’s feet start smelling we say he’s got “frito pies”!

  42. Angie Stanley
    May 6, 2013 | 3:22 pm

    popcorn feet:)

  43. Karina
    May 6, 2013 | 2:53 pm

    I LOVE sniffing my chihuahua’s feet! My husband calls her dorito dog!!

    • Carlos Danger
      July 30, 2013 | 10:15 pm

      I love sending pictures of feet. 1 foot.

  44. Dr. Jeannie Thomason
    May 6, 2013 | 2:38 pm

    I have naturally raised dogs for over 25 years – raw fed and only vaccinations required by law (rabies) Not one of my dogs has ever had feet that smelled like corn chips. Dogs can and do eliminate toxins via their feet – could be they smell due to being fed a kibble fed diet….???

    • Vicki
      May 6, 2013 | 8:27 pm

      OK I’ll bite, what is a raw diet ? Is there a brand of dog food called “raw” or do you literally give your dog only raw meats ? Doesn’t that get expensive ? Don’t they need other foods besides meat ?

      • moth
        July 30, 2013 | 7:27 pm

        raw means raw – mix of raw muscle meats, organ meats & bone. Google it – there are lots of descriptions of how to do it & why. For me it’s cheaper to feed raw than a good kibble (& I know all about both as I have 2 dogs on raw & 1 on kibble). As to whether they NEED other foods, if you start looking into it you’ll find a lot of debate on this topic. Dogs are not obligate carnivores (unlike cats for example which are & which should never have grains). My dogs enjoy the occasional treat of carbs. They also like berries of all sorts & get salmon oil, & occasionally plain yogurt.

        • Wynn
          October 11, 2013 | 2:03 pm

          I feed raw and their feet still smell like corn chips!

      • Shelley
        October 31, 2013 | 6:27 pm

        When I had the storage I was also feeding my dogs a raw diet. We made the food ourselves using people food. You would be amazed on how often we ran across a bad package of chicken being sold to people!

        We found the raw diet is actually less expensive that a good dog food. We added vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, spinach and other items as recommended by our vet. The dogs love it!

    • JB
      May 14, 2013 | 12:26 am

      Dr, I think that you are immune to the smell of fritos or any type of corn chips. My four dogs are also on a raw diet and their feet smell like corn chips.

    • Misha
      July 30, 2013 | 10:33 am

      My dog is also on raw and her feet still smell slightly of corn chips – but I love it. :)

      I think it truly might have been a bit stronger on kibble but the scent is still there on most days.

      • moth
        July 30, 2013 | 7:22 pm

        Same here but I have 3 dogs: 2 on raw & 1 not (it’s a long story LOL). 1 of the raw fed has corn chip/pop corn smelling feet, the other (1 raw, 1 not) don’t. My small sample tends to suggest it’s not simply correlated to diet.

    • NiFi
      January 26, 2014 | 1:56 pm

      That’s an interesting idea but I don’t think it’s corn toxins. I’m feeding a kibble that’s corn free and my girl has Frito feet.

  45. Maria
    May 6, 2013 | 2:37 pm

    That’s hilarious! It really does ! My buddy his feet smell like corn chips…weird! Haha

  46. Jamie
    May 6, 2013 | 2:20 pm

    My dog’s feet don’t smell like corn or anything for that matter. But I had a dog when I was a kid, who her whole body smelled like a bag of Frito’s. We used to say she’d be outside “frito-ing” in the sun.

  47. bryson
    May 6, 2013 | 2:18 pm

    i think they smell like saltine crackers!

  48. Shawn
    May 6, 2013 | 2:11 pm

    We call our Shepard mix “tortilla girl”

  49. Tina
    January 19, 2013 | 11:51 am

    I call it Frito toes :).

    • Lisa Boudreau
      May 6, 2013 | 2:44 pm

      I have always called them “Frito feet” LOL nice to know I am not “nuts”

    • Miss Lady
      October 11, 2013 | 12:12 pm

      Why not “Fri-TOES” :)

  50. Lee
    September 11, 2012 | 11:58 am

    I have a Shih Tzu that used to smell like corn chips two weeks or more after a bath. I changed foods, though, and I haven’t noticed the smell since that happened.

    • Jay
      February 3, 2014 | 9:40 am

      Hi Lee just seen your post. My dog smells awful and is a little itchy. Can you describe the corn chip smell? we are not familiar with this in the UK. What food did you change to and did you identify the cause? Our vet can’t help.

      • Theresa
        February 4, 2014 | 11:13 pm

        Hi. Sorry to jump in but I have a Shih Tzu that had same itchy skin problem. Vet told me to get a limited ingredient dog food. One protein and one carbohydrate. Rabbit or duck. I switched toDick Van Patten’s Limited Ingredient Duck & Legume. Sometimes I give her Rabbit & Potato. I also give her a children’s dose of Claritin allergy medicine. It has helped her tremendously. Plus I keep her in a puppy cut because she does better with short hair. Hope this helps.

  51. Jeanne
    September 10, 2012 | 4:03 pm

    My shepard Wolfman had corn chip feet, i loved it

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