Andy Cohen Wonders Why His Dog’s Paws Smell Like Fritos (There’s a Reason)

Bravo producer Andy Cohen recently pondered the age-old question that plagues nearly every dog owner in the world: “Why do my dog’s paws smell like Fritos?”

Cohen shared a video to his Instagram story where he is snuggled next to his pup Wacha. “You guys,” he begins. “Why do their paws smell like Fritos? Have we ever figured that out? Sometimes I like to smell his paws. I don’t know why. But I do, I can’t stop,” Cohen says while laughing.

Andy Cohen poses with his dog Wacha
Andy Cohen poses with his dog Wacha |Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Residence Inn

He adds, “They smell like Fritos.” Meanwhile, Wacha lays next to Cohen, head on the pillow looking ready to head off to dreamland. Cohen mulls over this important mystery, but there is a simple reason why a pup’s paws might smell like a favorite crunchy snack.

Cohen is not alone (plenty of dog lovers can’t get enough of their pup’s feet)

He seems a little embarrassed to admit he can’t stop smelling Wacha’s paws. However, many dog owners feel the same way and wonder why their dog’s feet have an “ode de corn chip” smell. Pet blogger, Beth Meadows wrote about the curious smell. “Did you know that many dogs’ feet smell like corn chips? If you’ve ever had Fritos or any kind of corn chip, you already know what scent I’m talking about,” she wrote. “And many dog people love the smell of their dogs’ paws!”

But Meadows doesn’t understand the fascination. “This may or may not surprise you as a dog owner and/or dog paw lover. I, for one, don’t understand it–perhaps because I know all too well what my dogs are walking through every day. Sadly, it seems that my dog Chance’s paws don’t really have that smell that so many other dog feet seem to have.”

However, there seem to be more people like Cohen who can’t get enough of their dog’s paws. “Turns out that most people seem to find that this is also the general smell of dog feet, and people can’t get enough. Have you ever smelled your dog’s paws? If not, grab that pooch and give those feet a sniff,” Meadows added.

Why do they smell like Fritos?

There’s a simple (and harmless) reason why Wacha (and just about every other dog out there) has that corn chip smell. No, they didn’t bust open a bag of chips and prance around for a few minutes. But instead, the culprit is a yeast-smelling bacteria that naturally lives on the pup’s pads.

“When it comes to the corn chips smell, it is mostly likely caused by the bacteria Proteus or Pseudomonas,” according to Androscoggin Animal Hospital. “These create a ‘yeasty’ smell. Another cause of the odor is sweat which gets lodged between your pet’s paw pads and fur.” 

If your dog likes to lick his or her paws, you may get a little extra aroma. “Then, to add to the toe-funk, dogs will frequently lick their feet and add more bacteria to the mix! Suffice it to say, your pet’s feet aren’t the cleanest,” Androscoggin Animal Hospital adds. “The bigger issue lies in how healthy the balance is between good and bad bacteria, and whether or not there is a condition at work that can create smelly feet and other problems.”