Why Do Dogs Feet Smell Like Fritos? Hmmm…

dachshund foot

Ahh “Frito Feet!” The first time you smell such a smell on your wiener’s feet, it’s difficult to pinpoint just what it is. Then, it suddenly hits you! Boom! Fritos!

For me, it was a pleasant experience.  I was flooded by the memories of eating Frito pie and Fritos with salsa … something I no longer have access to. But it sure as heck begs the question; why do my dogs feet smell like Fritos?

If you never asked this question aloud before, I certainly understand. I mean, it sounds kind of nuts, right? Not only that, it might feel sort of awkward once you realize you just told everybody that you actually smell your dog’s feet.

Well, rest assured. You’re not alone! I’m a proud foot-sniffer myself. Not only that, did you know that there’s a ton more people out there that belong to our tribe? That’s right! “Frito feet” really is a thing!


Doxie feetWell apparently, bacteria is the culprit here. In fact, there are supposedly two “snack-smelling” varieties of bacteria that enjoy snuggling into those warm places between your dog’s toes. Many owners report either a corn chip odor (Fritos) or a popcorn odor. Their names? “Proteus” and “Pseudomonas” (kind of sound like Greek God names to me). Proteus and Pseudomonas love the sweaty safety of the spaces between your dog’s toes. The more active he is, chances are the more sweaty those spaces will become. Truly a happy home for these guys!

Many dog owners find the smell to be rather pleasant. But there are those cases when it may smell particularly pungent and unpleasant to be around … especially when it permeates every room in which your dog spends time. In this case, it could be an infection; yeast or otherwise.


Most often, Proteus and Pseudomonas are harmless guys. They’re just living their lives and minding their own business in between your dog’s toes. But if you find it annoying that they’re living there rent-free … or worse, that their partying habits have created an infection … you should take some action.


  • Excessive chewing or biting of feet
    Dachshund feet
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pustules
  • Hair-loss

Of course an infection is no laughing matter, and definitely some things need to be done. First, a visit to your veterinarian so he or she can determine the cause of the infection. The potential causes are numerous and can range from a simple infection to allergies to severe illness. Once a diagnosis is made, your dog will need to be treated … usually with antibiotics and/or antifungal creme. You also need to keep the infected area clean. That means you have to bathe your dog. Or if you have a dachshund, you need to wash your wiener!


Sure! First of all, keep in mind that washing your wiener will probably NOT remove all traces of corn chip smell. Why? Because those bacteria dudes actually naturally exist between your dogs toesies and it is possible for your dog to live in harmony with them. But I agree, a little population control might be in order.

Before bath-time:

  • Carefully trim the hair (or have it trimmed) from between your dachshund’s toes
  • Purchase a pet-friendly shampoo


  • Make sure to individually wash each foot
  • Remove all dirt and debris from each foot
  • Now wash that adorable sausage-shaped body

Keep in mind:

Don’t over-wash your dog … Frito smell or not! Many people recommend bathing your dog once every two weeks. Others prefer the once-a-week approach. But did you know that the ASPCA recommends at least once every three months? That’s quite a range of recommendations! I also imagine that once every three months may be a hard pill for some dog-owners to swallow! However, over-washing can lead to a loss of natural oils that are on his skin and fur. At that point, he could then face any number of skin problems.

Obviously, there are a number of differing opinions. Therefore, you really need to use some common sense when it comes to bathing. Personally, I lean more toward what the experts say. But I combine that information with my up-close-and-personal knowledge of my dog. For example, if Paul is stinky, he gets a bath. If Paul played in the dirt or mud, he gets a bath. If he gets nervous at bath time, the bath may be delayed. If it’s winter, he gets fewer baths … probably only one or two at most. And I definitely DON’T bathe him just because I want him to smell all “perfumey.” He’s a dog, not a human!


It’s highly unlikely that changing your dog’s diet will reduce the Frito smell. However, many dogs suffer from food allergies. And among other things, food allergies can cause your buddy to chew on his feet.  Therefore, it’s always a good idea to be aware of any food allergies in your dog AND to feed him a quality preservative and-filler-free diet.


Paul outside

Paul’s Frito fumes have diminished significantly over the past year, and it’s not because he gets bathed regularly. In fact, he rarely gets bathed as he rarely gets into messes or gets a notion to roll about in stinky things. Simply put, he’s no longer as active as he once was, so the sweat no longer accumulates between his toes like it once did.

In any case, it appears as though Proteus and Pseudomonas have moved on to greener pastures … at least for the most part. I’m sure there are still a few stragglers who aren’t prepared to look for a new home yet, and I can sympathize. Those little feet are mighty attractive. Why would they want to leave them?

Do I miss the aroma of Fritos? To be honest, sometimes I do. I mean, it’s the only means by which I can get my Frito fix. Therefore, it wouldn’t be unusual to find me sniffing at those adorable little wiener feet … when nobody is looking.



If you enjoyed this article or have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments or questions below.

6 thoughts on “Why Do Dogs Feet Smell Like Fritos? Hmmm…”

  1. Very informative, I have never noticed a smell from my dogs paws ( never smelled them ) I will now give them a smell and see. I have noticed her licking and occasionally biting the fur, just thought she was grooming, never once thought it could be something more. Great article, very well written, I enjoyed your humor!!!!

    • Glad you enjoyed my post. Thanks for your comment. It’s quite possible your dog was only grooming herself. If the focus of her behavior was only on her feet, if it was some hardcore chewing and licking, and if it occurred regularly … then you might consider she has allergies or there is an infection.

  2. OK, I can honestly say that I have never sniffed my dog’s feet. Can’t say I ever plan to do so. The only time I have noticed an odor on my dog’s feed is when she comes in after having stepped in chicken poo We have free range chickens here.

    I had never considered that bacterial colonies might be growing between a dog’s toe, although there is no reason they shouldn’t. Fortunately these bacteria seem to produce a smell that a person can live with.

    • Hey Elden … it’s true! Not all stinky feet are from bacteria. Chicken poo is a good example. 🙂 I think I’d avoid the smelling my dog’s feet as well. Thanks for your comment!

  3. So is it only dachshunds that have Fritos feet? We don’t have dachshunds but have seen our dogs chew their feet occasionally, and have never noticed any smell at all. They don’t do it that often but, when they do, it’s as if they cannot stop biting their feet.

    Thanks for an informative (and amusing) article.

    • Hi Frank. Many breeds can get “Frito feet,” but of course not all dogs do. I’ve noticed it more on Paul than I did on my Shepherd … possibly due to the length of fur. Paul has a lot of long hair between his toes making it an even sweatier zone. Thanks for your comment.


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