Why do My Dog’s Paws Smell Like Corn Chips?

If you have a dog, you’ve probably noticed an odor emanating from their adorable paws. Most people recognize it as a corn chip or popcorn smell, and many dog owners say they actually like the scent. Regardless of your opinion about the odor, rest assured that, in most cases, this is completely normal.

If you’re wondering why your pet’s paws smell like corn chips, you’ve come to the right place! At Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital, we leave no stone unturned when it comes to pet care. We’ve tackled this question with the same vigor as when we explore topics such as dental care, pet food, and canine influenza. Keep reading to learn more about this peculiar canine scent!

Why do Dog Paws Smell Like Corn Chips?

Your dog’s paws are their connection to the world. When you think of all the surfaces they touch in the course of a day (combined with the fact that dogs sweat through their paw pads), it’s no surprise their paws are home to millions of microbes. The warm, furry, damp environment between the toes is perfect for bacteria such as pseudomonas and proteus, both of which give off a yeasty, corn-like odor.

Fancy Feet

Regular grooming around the paws can cut down on this corn chip odor. Even if you love the smell, keeping your dog’s feet in good shape is important to their overall health and comfort. Make sure to wash the paws with a gentle shampoo during bath time. Dry thoroughly with a soft towel, taking care to spread the toes, and dry in between each one.

The fur between the toes can harbor bacteria and yeast, so keeping this area trimmed is essential. A professional groomer can do this if you aren’t comfortable clipping at home.

Cause for Concern

In general, corn chip paws are pretty normal. However, if the smell becomes overwhelming or takes on a foul odor, an underlying medical condition could be at play. In many cases, allergies or infection can lead to yeast overgrowth in the paws.

Be on the lookout for the following signs of trouble:

  • Excessive licking or chewing at the paws
  • Itchy ears or skin
  • Corn chip smell coming from the ears
  • Licking or biting at the groin, belly, or legs

Allergies and issues with the immune system can seriously affect your pet’s health. If you notice any of these symptoms or are concerned for any reason, please don’t hesitate to contact us.