What is that bizarre, yet strangely comforting, odor emanating from the general direction of your dog? All you’re certain of is that your dog stinks, and it’s been bothering you for a while. When the dog nestles into her dog bed for an evening nap, you decide to conduct an unscientific survey. Moving your nose about and inhaling gently at various points, the source reveals itself powerfully. As you reach the base of your dog’s feet, you find that they reek of … Fritos?
You find your fingers insensibly moving toward the dog’s feet, and as they push apart two of the dog’s toes, the scent of corn chips assaults your senses. What are Frito feet? What are the causes of this unusual scent that has established itself in your dog’s foot pads? How can you stop your dog’s smelly feet? Let’s discover the possible sources and potential remedies of foot odor in dogs!
Frito feet in dogs are neither natural nor endearing
In the “you are what you eat” school of thought, it’s assumed that a dog who has gotten into an open bag of Fritos, tortilla chips, or popcorn may simply be projecting the aromas native to these human food treats. Such conspicuous eating is not the root cause of foot odor in dogs, but it may have a decided part to play. Too many foods rich in carbohydrates or sugars can contribute to the right dietary conditions that foster the true sources of smelly feet. Cutting back on these kinds of treats can help, but will not strike at the real causes.
Others conjecture that Frito feet simply reflect the way a dog’s feet smell. Some refer to the odor as “natural” or even “endearing.” The causes of Frito feet are natural enough, but as in strong or acrid human bodily odors — particularly where the feet are concerned — there is little that’s endearing about them. You may enjoy the scent of corn chips, but among the causes of Frito feet in dogs is a yeast infestation. Admit it, “yeast infestation” has nowhere near the cute factor of “Frito feet.”
Smelly feet have a number of causes
It might not be as problematic as a yeast infection, but, like the fungi that cause smelly feet in humans, one source of foot odor in dogs is an unchecked proliferation of yeast fungi in and around a dog’s feet. Like the demodex mites that cause mange in dogs, the yeast fungi that underlie the phenomenon of Frito feet are naturally occurring skin-dwellers who have gotten well out of hand. A dog’s immune system typically keeps native surface mites, bacteria, and fungi in check and their population small enough to go unnoticed.
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