Of course you have. EVERYONE has. Even if you don’t own a dog, if you have spent enough time around one, you will either notice, or have been pointed out to, the elusive Fritos smell.
Well…what does it mean?
In short, your dog could have a yeast infection.
But hold on, thankfully it’s not the same as it is in humans. The smell is attributed to an unchecked proliferation of yeast fungi in and around a dog’s feet. Cats can have this too, since their paws are similar, but cats clean themselves much more thoroughly than dogs and have this happen much less.
A dog’s immune system usually keeps mites, fungi, and yeast in check, but in times where there is more than the normal amount of moisture around, especially in the summer months, or in the winter with a heater inside, conditions are ideal for the yeast and fungi to grow.
Another source is when your dog walks outside onto a wet surface. When we step inside, we wipe our feet. Dogs don’t! So further moisture is trapped in the little crevices between their foot pads.
What can you do?
The odour associated with Frito feet depends on a several factors, including improper foot hygiene, warm and moist environments, and the unchecked accumulation of bacteria. Remember, dogs have their sweat glands in their feet! One option is to carefully trim any excessive fur from the base of your dog’s feet. In some breeds, trimming excess hair around their feet may help, but there are easy and safe ways to curb the odour.
A quick cleaning solution with water and either white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide works well. Put the solution in a tub or basin, and while keeping your dog relaxed (treats and soothing words help), make sure she remains still in the solution for a few minutes to let it do its work. Afterwards, make sure to dry your dog’s feet thoroughly, especially between the toes.
If your dog is also having difficulties walking, or has been excessively licking or scratching at her feet, ear, or skin folds, her feet smelling like Fritos may be a symptom of a more serious health problem. When you clean your dog’s feet, check for swelling, abrasions, or other signs of possible infection or injury.
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