Dog owners are a lucky bunch. Every single day is their dog’s best day ever, and all that joy and happiness spreads throughout a person’s life and home. But do you know what also gets spread around in a dog’s wake? Their smell, of course!

While they don’t always smell bad, there is a near-constant doggie odor that comes from them. Dogs generate a light perspiration from the hair follicles, and they produce a scent-marking oil on their skin. Glands in their ears produce a slightly yeasty odor, as well. Certainly, this is all normal, but none of it compares with a dog’s smelly paws.

Sweaty Equals Smelly?

Unlike us, dogs sweat from their paw pads to regulate internal body temperature and stay cool. As they walk around the house and neighborhood, their paws pick up microbes. Additionally, bacteria (such as Pseudomonas or Proteus) and fungi live on the skin. Dogs also self-groom their feet, adding more bacteria and moisture.

In other words, your dog’s smelly paws are a natural breeding ground for funky odors!

Comes with the Territory

It’s normal to jump to conclusions about off-putting smells. In many cases, foul smells are actually signs of illness or infection. In addition to smelly paws, watch out for the following signs of a larger problem:

  • Redness or skin inflammation
  • Flaky or crusty paw pads
  • Swelling of the pads
  • Lumps or bumps on the feet
  • Drainage (pus) from an open wound on the paw
  • Limping or other difficulty walking
  • Excessive licking or biting of the feet

Your dog’s smelly paws could be an indication they’re fighting off a bacterial or fungal infection. Dogs with weakened immune systems or those with allergies may be more prone to yeast infections, so it’s important to have them examined.

Your pet may also have stepped on something that’s embedded in their paw, causing an irritation or abscess. Alternatively, toenails can become infected and cause a malodorous smell.

What to Do About Smelly Paws

The best thing you can do to combat smelly paws is to wash them regularly.

  • Start with a quick inspection of the feet. Spread the toes apart with your fingers, looking at the hair growth.
  • Using pet trimmers, cut any long hairs between the toes to reduce the future accumulation of yeast and bacteria.
  • Next, give your pet a nice warm foot bath to eliminate all the sweat, debris, and bacteria that contributes to smelly paws. Be sure to use a gentle pet shampoo. Rinse thoroughly and dry completely.

Remember, we’re always happy to assist you with any grooming needs!

A Scent of Distinction

The truth is, dogs can smell, and, while you love them dearly, their smelly paws might be more than you can handle. If you have any questions or need additional help, please contact the team at Old Derby Animal Hospital.