Nope, you’re not going crazy. Your dog’s paws do indeed smell of Fritos, or popcorn, depending on who you ask.
Most people probably wouldn’t recommend going around smelling your dog’s footsies, not least because you can never be certain of what they might have been paddling in outside. But many of those who do note that their feet tend to smell like corn chips or popcorn, with some saying that they actually find the smell quite pleasant.
It turns out that this aroma is probably down to the microorganisms making a living on the foot pads, specifically the bacteria Pseudomonas and Proteus. As the hair grows longer between the toes, it can harbor the bacteria and provides the perfect environment for them to grow, hence the smell. But don’t worry, this is totally natural.
Unlike us – hairless apes that sweat all over – dogs only sweat through the bits of their body not covered by fur. Therefore, most sweat glands are located in a pooch's paws, with a few more in its nose. This is why on a hot day, you might notice a series of damp doggy footprints meandering their way over the floor.
It is also the reason why your canine pal will sit panting on a hot summer’s day or after long walkies in the park, because in general, the area of skin on their feet and nose is not big enough to cool them down, so instead they rely on the evaporation of moisture from their tongue and the lining of their lungs to lower their body temperature.
But as with people, the sweat the dogs produce doesn’t really smell on its own, it is the microorganisms that feast on it that produce the stink. So if you are a bit worried about the smell emanating from you pups paws, there are a few tips to try and keep the whiff to a minimum.
The first is to simply wash the soles of the feet, although, in reality, your pooch should be doing a damn fine job of this itself. The other is to simply and carefully trim the hair found between the tootsies.
There is a slight word of warning here though. While a bit of a stink is perfectly normal for your pooch, just be aware that there is no excessive smell, discharge, or swelling from their feet, as this could be a sign of an infection that warrants a trip to your local vet.