, pub-1355929376209830, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fritos? (6 Causes + Solutions) - Puppy Small

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fritos? (6 Causes + Solutions)

Why does my dog smell like Fritos? Believe it or not, you aren’t alone among dog owners, as this situation isn’t uncommon. So it raises the question of what could be causing all these dogs to smell like our favorite brand of corn chips.

I intend to showcase all the possible causes and cover several other related topics. You’ll soon know everything about managing and eliminating this unpleasant smell. But first, let’s discuss whether this Frito smell should make a dog owner overly worried. 

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fritos

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fritos?!? Should I Be Worried?

In most cases, a Frito smell isn’t anything overly concerning. It’s common, especially in warmer climates and seasons throughout the year. So there’s no reason to panic if your dog’s feet or any other area starts smelling like corn chips.

However, this condition isn’t one to completely overlook. It’s something that owners should monitor because it can indicate health issues if presented with other symptoms. Due to this, observing and keeping track of when the smell presents itself is essential.

But overall, a Frito-like smell from your dog isn’t a panic-worthy situation. You just need to do your best to figure out what’s causing the issue and address it appropriately. The following section will help you by laying out all the common causes.

6 Reasons Why Your Dog Smells Like Fritos

As I mentioned earlier, a Frito-smelling dog is much more common than people may assume. I even had it occur with both my dogs several times, so I’ve become somewhat informed on the subject. I’ve gathered that this unusual smell often comes from one of these six causes: 

1. Excess Bacteria

The number one culprit of Frito-smelling dogs is excess bacteria called Proteus and Pseudomonas. If your dog is affected by this bacteria, the “Frito smell” will come from their feet.

But thankfully, this bacteria isn’t an overly concerning cause. It’s natural for Proteus and Pseudomonas to be present in your dog’s environment and their body. You won’t even notice it’s around, except when the Frito stench presents itself. 

Essentially, the Frito smell will develop from this bacteria being in a warm and moist environment. It makes your dog’s feet a perfect breeding ground for Proteus and Pseudomonas to grow and excel.

This development can even lead to overgrowth and a more pungent odor. It’s what happened with my Pitbull, whose Frito smell almost became impossible not to notice. So it’s vital to deal with this issue before the smell becomes unbearable like my dog’s did.

Certain dogs will also be more susceptible to this issue than others. The leading candidates are any dog with more skin folds and heavier coats. For instance, it’s a prevalent issue for Pugs (skin folds) and Basset Hounds. 

Another thing to consider is that your dog’s feet aren’t the only possible smelly area. Any skin fold can pick up a Frito scent under the right circumstances. Therefore, locating the source becomes an essential part of managing this issue. 

Bacteria is a common cause of corn chip odors in dogs

2. Sweaty Paws

It may seem a little weird, but sweaty paws are a common culprit for the Frito smell. The merocrine sweat glands on their paws release sweat to help cool down. Dogs pair this secondary response with their panting to prevent overheating and similar issues. Panting is their primary mechanism of dealing with hotter temperatures. 

But back to the Frito smell issue, sweat from their paws’ glands can create wet paw prints. This wetness can then create a rather pungent corn chip odor. In essence, it activates the bacteria I discussed in the first cause. 

During this recent heat wave, both my dogs come in from walks with sweaty paws. The Frito smell wasn’t far behind; it’s normal when temperatures reach triple digits. As a result, this situation is manageable and requires little oversight. 

You simply wipe down their paws and wait for the smell to dissipate. However, if there are any cuts or other worrisome signs along with sweaty feet, it can indicate a severe condition. 

3. Poor Paw Hygiene

Dog owners often overlook paw hygiene. But it’s a massive mistake because lousy paw care can lead to various issues, such as infections and painful cuts. Another consequence is the smelly presence of Frito feet odor. 

So it’s vital to check your dog’s paws regularly. Look for signs of cuts, scrapes, infection, and anything else out of the ordinary. An excellent time for these checks would be after each walk, allowing you to address any issue immediately. 

It’s also wise to wipe down their paws during these checks. This simple maneuver will do a solid job of preventing Frito feet and any other issues. It wouldn’t hurt to keep their nails from becoming overgrown, too: just don’t cut the nail quick!

Check your dog's paws regularly to prevent Frito odors.

4. Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are a nasty condition for dogs to obtain. It’s uncomfortable and comes with a long list of gross, unpleasant symptoms. Our friend, the Frito smell, is one of these symptoms everyone wants to avoid. 

It’ll often present itself when a dog’s dealing with a yeast infection between their toes. It makes sense considering this area is usually warm/moist compared to the rest of your dog’s body. So it’s the perfect breeding ground for this type of infection. 

If your dog suffers from a yeast infection, they’ll often be chewing or licking their paws excessively. It’s their only defense against an irritating condition like this one. Other signs to look for would be redness or swelling. 

5. Diet and Food-Related Causes

The last potential cause is something present in your dog’s diet. In particular, corn and grain are common culprits in producing the Frito smell. It’s another reason dog owners need to know the ingredients in their dog’s food.

Similarly, your dog may have eaten something outside their diet to cause the smell. If it doesn’t reoccur and goes away quickly, it’s likely the cause behind this smelly mystery. 

6. Anal Gland Issues

Your dog’s anal glands are another potential suspect in the case of “What’s causing my dog to smell like corn chips?” These glands can produce a smell similar to a bag of Fritos whenever infected or blocked. 

A classic indicator of anal gland issues is bottom scooting. The bottom scooting may be funny to see, but often it’s a warning sign of a problem. So please, don’t assume nothing’s worrying if your dog’s scooting their bottom across the ground. 

Excessive licking/biting of their rear is another classic indicator. If you see either or a combination, it’s time to get their anal glands checked out by a vet.


Check out the video below for a quick recap of the top 5 reasons. Then, keep reading as we delve deeper into this mystery.


How to Address the Frito Smell

So you’ve now got a handle on what could be causing the issues. Your next step is addressing them to stop and prevent this Frito smell from being an issue. These five tips should be more than enough to ensure you can nip this problem in the bud:

1. Paw Care and Maintenance 

Your first tip is diving deep into paw care and maintenance. After all, the source of this Frito smell is often your dog’s paws. It’d make complete sense to change how you approach caring for them. 

Start with increasing how much you clean and inspect their paws. I’d suggest checking them every time that they come in from outside. You can then wipe them down with a cloth to take care of any dirt build-ups or other substances.

As a result, the risk of infections and bacteria build-ups should be much more limited. But remember, pay special attention to the toes. Bacteria often thrive most in this area when producing the unwanted Frito smell.

If you’re a more visual person, this video has great tips and tricks for paw care. It helped me a bunch when dealing with my Pitbull’s cracked paw pads a few months ago. 

2. Regular Grooming

Grooming can be a godsend when preventing any Frito smell or other odors. Honestly, a consistent grooming routine is a vital piece of keeping a dog healthy. So if you don’t have one, begin to establish one or make the necessary changes. 

An area to put extra focus on would be brushing your dog’s coat more frequently. It’ll help remove any dirt or other problematic build-ups that could become an issue. Short-haired dogs don’t need more than a weekly brushing, while long-hair dogs need daily. 

3. Give Your Pup a Bath with Dog Shampoo 

Bathing your dog is one of the easiest ways to remove this pesky Frito smell. But this process needs to be done using a dog-specific shampoo. You can’t use a bottle of Dove or Suave shampoo when bathing your dog.

Instead, you’ll want to choose a top-rated dog shampoo. Anyone who needs help choosing one should check out this article. It’ll walk you through this process to ensure picking the perfect shampoo is a breeze. 

Once purchased, use lukewarm water and the shampoo for a successful experience. But don’t make the mistake of bathing them more than required. If you do, the damage to your dog’s coat and skin can be significant.

You’ll only bathe them when it’s completely necessary. Some examples include when they smell like Fritos or roll in something dead. In other words, the right time will be apparent to anyone in contact with the dog.

4. Change Their Diet 

Changing a dog’s diet can remove this Frito smell from your life. But I would consult with your vet before going down this path. After all, some dogs don’t take too well when their food is changed even in the slightest way. 

Your vet will also be able to identify triggers for this Frito smell presenting themselves. They even offer adjustments and plans to ensure your dog gets the best diet possible. From there, it only becomes a matter of following their advice!

What is the best hypoallergenic dog food for a yeast infection? Check out our top 5 picks, plus learn why the right food makes a difference!

5. Schedule and Keep Up with Regular Vet Check-ups

The last tip may seem like common sense, but many owners don’t follow it. They’ll let their dog go years without seeing a vet, which is how issues like a Frito smell happen. So do yourself a favor and keep up with regular vet check-ups to stay on top of your dog’s health. 

Furthermore, your vet will quickly identify any underlying conditions for this Frito smell. A typical example would be anal gland issues. In this situation, your vet would perform an anal gland expression to help relieve the problem without any trouble.

When to Consult a Vet

Aside from scheduling regular check-ups, you must know when scheduling an immediate vet visit is necessary. These symptoms presenting with a Frito smell are clear indicators of your dog needing instant veterinary assistance:

  • Limping or other foot-related pain: One of the more worrying signs would be a dog with a Frito stench limping or expressing pain in its feet. Schedule a vet visit to ensure conditions like hip dysplasia or arthritis aren’t issued. 
  • Swelling or redness: Swelling around your dog’s Frito foot could indicate allergies, fleas, or yeast infection. This redness will often be focused around the paw pad.
  • Pungent and excessive odor: If the Frito smell continues to get worse and worse, a vet visit becomes necessary. A typical indicator is the odor becoming overly musty or rotten, located explicitly around the footpads. 
  • Hair loss: Any signs of hair loss, particularly patches around the paws, are worrisome. It can suggest underlying conditions like fleas, yeast infections, and other gross issues. Get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. 
  • Discharge: Some dogs experience yellow or green discharges near their paws when experiencing Frito feet. It’s often a sign of something else going on aside from simply smelling like corn chips.
  • Cracked or broken toenails: A Frito foot with a cracked or broken toenail is a bad, bad sign. It could open your dog to a severe infection, especially if the quick is damaged. You’ll want to get ahead of this situation and see your vet. Plus, they can confidently trim away the damage rather than you doing it while panicking. 


The answer to “Why does my dog smell like Fritos” is usually excess bacteria or sweaty paws. In these cases, it’s a regular occurrence that is manageable. You address it by locating the smell’s source and cleaning it properly. 

But this issue can become severely formidable when other symptoms start popping up: a cracked toenail, inflammation, swelling, or noticeable signs of pain. If this happens, a vet visit isn’t only suggested; it becomes mandatory. 

If you have any more questions, feel free to use our comment section. I’d love to continue the conversation and ensure you’re comfortable with your Frito-smelling dog. Thanks for reading!

Does your dog smell like Fritos? Were you able to find the cause? Share your experiences below!


  • Ben Ro

    My name is Ben Roberts, and I’ve been writing about animals for many years. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a much better job, considering I’ve been around animals all my life. I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t at least one cat or dog inside my home. Currently, I’m a proud owner of a Beagle and a Pitbull who make sure my life is never dull.

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