Tips&TricksWhen your dog's paws smell like popcorn, a surprisingly serious situation to sniff out

When your dog's paws smell like popcorn, a surprisingly serious situation to sniff out

A dog's paw in a human's hand.
A dog's paw in a human's hand.
Images source: © Getty Images | pedro arquero
8:44 PM EST, January 17, 2024

Like humans, dogs' bodies emit a variety of smells. Dog owners usually fall into two categories: those who enjoy the scent that dog paws emit and those who find it insufferable. However, everyone should be aware that sometimes this distinctive smell, reminiscent of popcorn, could signal a problem that needs immediate attention from a vet.

When should the smell of dog paws be a cause for concern?

Sweat glands located between the pads and bacteria that make their home there are the causes of the unusual scent of dog paws. Typically, this scent is very mild, and you will only notice it when you bring your nose close to your pet's paws (either purposefully or incidentally during play or grooming). Such a situation is normal and doesn't warrant concern. However, any deviation from the norm should be taken seriously.

Dog paws come into contact with various surfaces – the floors at home, sidewalks, streets, etc. All these places are teeming with microorganisms. If proper hygiene of your pet's paws isn't maintained, bacteria can multiply at an alarming rate. In such situations, the smell of dog paws may become incredibly intense and is usually coupled with symptoms like irritation, itching, burning, etc. Dogs tend to react by licking or nibbling their paws. This kind of behaviour should indeed raise concerns.

What should be done when dog paws reek intensely of popcorn?

A potent smell and excessive paw licking are signals that there's an issue at hand. You'll likely notice that your pet's pads are inflamed upon inspection. Unfortunately, home remedies might not suffice in such situations. The only effective solution to relieve your pet's discomfort is to consult a vet. Heeding the vet's recommendations should help alleviate the problem promptly. Post-treatment, remember to maintain the hygiene of your pet's paws to prevent recurrence of the issue.

How to ensure proper hygiene of dog paws?

Contrary to what one might believe, maintaining the hygiene of dog paws isn't complicated at all. Regular cleaning, drying, and wiping of your pet's paws should suffice. This should be done each time you return from a walk. Rinsing the paws with water (without using detergents or even dog shampoo) followed by blotting them dry with a towel should be enough. This routine will help limit the proliferation of bacteria between the pads. If desired, applying a special balm on your dog's paws post-cleaning would safeguard them from injuries.

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