Weird question, we know, but have you ever caught a whiff of your dog’s paws? Many people describe their dog’s paws as smelling like corn chips, popcorn, or Fritos. So is this something you should worry about, or is your dog’s smell just making you strangely hungry?

The short answer: It’s pretty normal, and probably healthy.

This begs the question …

Dog Smells Like Corn Chips paws

What Causes the Corn Chip Smell?

This smell is usually caused by bacteria that naturally reside on your dog’s paw pads. These bacteria– particularly Proteus and Pseudomonas bacterias– give off yeasty odors. That’s the corn chip smell, and it’s a natural odor. Nothing to worry about!

When the Smell Gets Worse than Corn Chips

Dogs sweat through their feet just like humans. Sweat can become trapped in the coat between the foot pads and create a less desirable odor– worse than the corn chips smell.

To avoid these less pleasant odors, you can trim the fur between the paw pads which will allow the sweat and smell to dissipate rather than permeate into the fur and further the stench. Just use hair clippers to carefully trim between the pads.

After you trim, and no matter the severity of the stench, a bath is in order. Lather each of your dog’s paws with pet shampoo to remove sweat and debris then rinse completely. This should clear our the odor.

When the Odor Becomes a Real Problem

If the basic dog hygiene tips don’t work and the paw odor gets really foul, there could be a bigger problem. Here are some other signs that the stench from your dog is something more serious:

●       Dry, flaky skin on paw pads

●       Cracked or flaky toenails

●       Redness, liking, hair loss

●       Drainage from the paw pad

●       Limping or favoring other legs

A strong, bath-resistant odor could mean:

●       An overgrowth of pathologic microbes on the paw pads that have led to bacterial or fungal infection

●       A foreign body, such as a grass awn, that’s causing irritation or abscess

●       An injured toenail or infection in the nail bed

If your dog is showing any of the symptoms listed above as well as putting out a particularly foul stench, it’s time to consult the veternarian.


The corn chips smell is normal in dogs, but make yourself familiar with the signs of a greater problem so that you can tell the difference between a healthy dog smell and a not-so-healthy dog smell.

Want a solid solution to keeping your dog’s paw pads healthy and having plenty of traction? Check out PawFriction!