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There are two types of dog owners: the type that sniffs and kisses their dog’s feet often enough to notice that they smell distinctly of Fritos, and people who need to sniff their dog’s feet right now.

Bacteria is everywhere, on everything, including every square millimeter of our bodies, inside and out. The same holds true for dogs, and every single living and nonliving thing on the planet.

Some types of bacteria give off odors as they digest proteins. That unmistakable “BO” scent comes from bacteria breaking down the proteins in sweat into acids. So, body odor is not the smell of bacteria; it’s more like the smell of the bacteria’s farts!

The types of bacteria that commonly live on dog feet – Proteus or Pseudomonas, both have a characteristic, yeasty odor that somehow ends up smelling very much like Fritos or salted popcorn. Fortunately, this body odor is pleasant to most people. If it was pungent, perhaps we would not have domesticated dogs over 10,000 years ago.

Does Corn In Dog Food Cause Corny Feet?

You’d think so! Recently, more and more owners have been turning to corn-free dog foods because corn has been gaining a bad reputation as a harmful filler. Whether or not corn is really that bad for dogs is constantly up for debate. I stay away from it whenever possible, just because it can cause allergies and loose, extremely smelly poop.

However, it doesn’t cause corn chip feet. Dogs on grain-free diets have feet that are just as corny as those of dogs who eat corn-based kibble.

Wash Your Dog’s Feet!

Though corn feet are normal, you should still consider keeping their paws clean for the sake of their health.

Imagine licking the bottom of your shoes after a long day at the park. Disgusting!

Since dogs don’t wear shoes, nothing protects their feet from the bacteria and nastiness they pick up outside – only to hop on the couch and spend hours licking their paws.

Veterinarian Karen Becker says that 50% of foot licking and chewing can be alleviated by regular foot soaks. She recommended soaking your dog’s feet in diluted iodine. A solution of vinegar or green tea can also help. Even wiping them clean is better than letting your dog lick up the road salt, pesticides and other ick that they walk on.


Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.