Tuesday Topics 21 - Frito Feet

Two months since retiring Tuesday Topics, I am resurrecting it to appeal to the masses for advice on a big problem: Cabana's feet stink to high heaven!! They smell like Fritos but far more pungent and putrid.

I have researched the topic online, and while there are many that have the same problem and concur that their dogs' feet smell like corn chips, no one really says what to do about it!

Cabana had a bath only 2 weeks ago, and I occasionally wipe her feet down with a wet washcloth. But it doesn't seem to help with the smell. It might even be making the smell worse. There's nothing lodged in her foot pads, no signs of any problem.

It has gotten to the point that just having her in the car with me (Cabana in the backseat, me in the front) is enough to make me gag. I have to keep the windows open so we won't get asphyxiated by the stench. Help! Someone needs to invent doggy odor eaters.

Cabana also has another odor at times, a weird indescribable smell for which I have coined the scientific term "butt paste". The first time I smelled it was when Cabana was about 10 weeks old, she was sitting on my lap and left a smidge of clear thick fluid on my jeans. It was just a tiny blob, but it smelled so strong and unpleasant that I had to change my clothes immediately. Ever since then, she occasionally emits that "butt paste" smell, although I haven't seen any accompanying fluid since. Has anyone else experienced this with their dogs?

Poppy The Puppy  – (September 29, 2009 at 11:34 AM)  

Ha! You crack me up! "Butt paste" would be anal gland discharge. Kinda fishy and metallic in smell. Fun stuff! Typically, they express their anal glands while pooping. If you watch closely, you can sometimes be witness to a squirt of clear fluid - just a few drops - at the end of a poo. There is much debate about what anal glands are for. They sit just inside at about 10 and 2 around the anal opening. They say the fluid that is expressed is for territory marking, as there is no other physiological need for these glands. They can get impacted, infected and all sorts of stuff. Now isn't that more than you ever wanted to know about the inside of your dog's butt??

As for the Frito feet, I don't know what to tell you! It is another territory marking device. The only sweat glands in a dog are between the pads of the feet. Maybe the smell will get better as the weather cools off?? I don't know that I would want to put anything os it, since they have unobstructed access to their tootsies. I wouldn't want them ingesting whatever you put on, nor would I want to give them something "tasty" to lick off and cause more problems. And, since they think all sorts of gross stuff tastes good, I wouldn't want to risk it.

Deborah  – (September 29, 2009 at 12:21 PM)  

WOW, I have never heard of this. Maybe it's something in her diet? I just saw a big show on humans and if their liver is working well, because of diet, humans can have a fowl order, so maybe the same falls for dogs..Please let us know when you find out. Now I'm curious!

smilinshell11  – (September 29, 2009 at 1:09 PM)  

I have no advice for you :( but I have to say your post did make me laugh at work. Thanks!

L^2  – (September 29, 2009 at 1:22 PM)  

Yes, when I first got Willow I noticed that her feet smelled like corn chips. I don't notice it now, but maybe because she's older. I never figured out anything to do about this smell (every dog I've ever had has had some sort of light odor no matter what, so I just figured this was hers), but it has never been as bad as you've described.

As "Poppy" said, the other thing you're noticing is anal gland discharge. Sometimes when dogs get excited or nervous they will "accidentally" release this clear odorous fluid, but usually it's released while relieving. Willow's Vet always empties her glands if he notices that they are full while he's examining her, to make sure the discharge looks all right. I've known several dogs who've had problems with them and ended up having them removed, so it is something to keep an eye on.

Kate Richardson  – (September 29, 2009 at 1:30 PM)  

wow. this is a very interesting phenomenon! my mom and i LOVE the smell of puppy feet, and it's quite possibly because they do smell like corn chips! i found a really concise and clear article online about what causes this. in case you didn't come across it in your searches it's here: http://blogs.dogster.com/vet_blog_information_advice/what-causes-frito-feet/

one of the really common things that i've read about helping with this is keeping the hair between the paw pads trimmed in addition to a nightly wash/drying. hope you get a real answer though!

Heather and Ellie  – (September 29, 2009 at 1:52 PM)  

I love the smell of puppy feet, though I haven't had a chance to meet a dog that smells really strong. I've just smelt mild feet:)

Maddie, Gabrina (IFT), and Betsy (PIT)  – (September 29, 2009 at 2:29 PM)  

Gabrina had the "butt paste" smell on occasion too. The only way I could make the smell go away quickly was to wipe her butt with babywipes. Awkward? Yes. But it was worth it. I noticed she smelled worse when she played and ran around a lot. Whenever we went on outings I always made sure I had babywipes in case she started to stink. I only had to use them once. And when I did I just went to the car and hid.

Best of luck!

Sarah and the Pack.  – (September 29, 2009 at 2:48 PM)  

My big dog, Marley, had a foot odor problem. I switched him to a food without corn, and it went away. Sometimes food allergies can manifest with funny smells.

As far as a doggie odor eater, try the citrus magic (I get it at Walmart, in the car section). Works like a dream, and I haul around 3 dogs all the time!

Penelope  – (September 29, 2009 at 4:04 PM)  

Both our girls have (or have had) bad odors at times, and we've noticed it to be worse when they're intact (now that Penelope's spayed, her "stinky times" are a lot less frequent). We try to keep them from licking their butts and/or feet and/or whatever-stinks, and that seems to help a bit...otherwise we keep them inside and light candles to help cover up the smell...haha! Good luck! =D

Carrie and Waffle  – (September 29, 2009 at 4:17 PM)  

I always figured frito-feet were just part of labbie life.

Maybe a baking soda pedi might be in her future. That is pretty non toxic and can easly be washed off. It works in my freezer maybe it works on feet.

Erin and her Dogs  – (September 29, 2009 at 7:03 PM)  

OH God ANAL GLANDS ARE THE WORST SMELL IN THIS WORLD. My boss used to express them for some people and WOW was it stinky.

I don't know about the feet..lol haven't had a stinky footed dog just yet!! Bubbles' breath is enough to knock ya out for sure!

Erin and her Dogs  – (September 29, 2009 at 7:06 PM)  

umm...NOT for people, but peoples dogs. That's what I meant to say.

Becky  – (September 29, 2009 at 8:09 PM)  

Sounds like you have gotten some great feedback. I have no clue but had to laugh thinking of you driving with the window down because of Cabana's feet :D

Hobbes Dogs  – (September 29, 2009 at 9:09 PM)  

I have missed the Tuesday topics!

Unfortunately I don't have much to contribute this week. I wonder if Poppy might be right that it is related to the heat. I don't remember having any foot-odour issues with any of my pups, but maybe this is because we have colder temperatures than you most of the time?

Agreed about the anal glands - when I volunteer in a vet clinic I sometimes had to express them on dogs ... gross!

Scout 'n Freyja  – (September 29, 2009 at 9:32 PM)  

I have a German Shepherd Dog and a Golden Retriever. I have had spaniels and a Great Pyrenees. ALL of them have had Frito feet. I just bet that you have a couple of odors on your that other folks would think are that special, either☺

Lauren and Spike  – (September 29, 2009 at 11:23 PM)  

When I was a little, I would lay on the floor with my Boxer and put her paws up to my nose. I loved the smell of her corn chip paws. Kinda like a security blanket. :)
I still like to smell of dogs' paws. However, I've never experienced being able to smell them when they aren't less than a foot away from my nose.
That's weird.

Melissa Mitchell  – (October 4, 2009 at 9:15 PM)  

I, too, love the smell of Frito feet!n My friends have all thought I was making it up!!!

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