What do you mean, you’ve never smelled your dog’s feet?
If you want to go take a huff right now, there’s a good chance you’re going to be treated to the aroma of corn chips. Some folks say the scent reminds them of tortillas or popcorn instead. The phenomenon is commonly known as ‘Frito feet’.
If you notice this smell and you’re dog is otherwise healthy, don’t be concerned — it’s totally natural. Your dog’s salty scented foot odor is caused by bacteria & yeast in the moist folds of skin and fur between the toe pads. With lots of tramping around in areas where bacteria can be picked up, even the cleanest dog will pick up a few microorganisms along the way. Because dogs sweat through their foot pads and there’s limited air circulation in that area, things tend to stay damp which allows bacteria and yeast to proliferate. And like the bacteria that gives us BO, these microorganisms give off their own distinct odors, some of which smell like corn chips!
Most dogs with Frito feet don’t have infected feet. Rather, they have mildly increased numbers of microorganisms on their feet. The best way to prevent the smell is to regularly clean and dry your dog’s feet.
However, if your dog is fighting Demodex mites, It’s a whole different story!
De-yeasting your dog’s feet at least once a day is really important. This is because Demodectic mites live off of yeast so it must be eliminated. Yeast reproduces ridiculously fast so treating for yeast should happen at least once a day. Soak each paw in a diluted povidone iodine solution or an anti-yeast vinegar and peroxide solution for as long as you can keep the foot in the container. Spread the pads apart and dry thoroughly. Keep the paws as dry as possible throughout the day.
Trimming the fur between the foot pads will help reduce moisture and odors. Without trimming, the sweat goes into the fur and permeates there. When you bathe your dog, use Benzoyl peroxide shampoo and pay extra attention to yeast-prone areas like the feet. Just be sure to get those feet good and dry after the bath.
Complete information on diluting & using povidone iodine can be found on page 19 of our free e-booklet Managing the Misery of Mange Mites. The recipe for the peroxide & vinegar dip is also on page 19 . Download it here.