Paw Talk

Let’s talk about paws. Almost all dog owners notice their dogs kicking backward after going to the bathroom. It’s cute, and it’s also serving a surprising purpose. Dog owners may also notice a “corn chip” or “Frito” smell on their paws. What’s that about?

Kicking Backward

First, when your dog goes to the bathroom and kicks backward it can look like a bull getting ready to charge. If your dog is small, it’s one of the cutest behaviors you’ll ever see. But what they’re doing, is very important.

Most of us believe they’re trying to cover up their droppings with grass; and, it’s not very effective, right? What most of us don’t know is they are actually communicating. The American Kennel Club writes, “Dogs have glands in their paws that release pheromones that trigger social interaction with other dogs. These pheromones from dogs’ feet last longer than the scent of urine or feces, making them more effective as a communication tool.”

Enjoy the cuteness, but appreciate their instinctive need to communicate within their surroundings.

Fritos Anyone?

When paw glands release these pheromones, it isn’t causing the smell of corn chips. This is actually attributed to bacteria called Pseudomonas and Proteus.

Dogs use their paws more than we use our feet (or even our shoes). Because of this, their paws pick up smells and have natural built-in protections. These bacteria are part of health, but can also bother humans.

Most vets encourage pet parents to remember this: Dogs like smelling like a dog. One vet noted if owners don’t like this smell on their dogs, stop sniffing their paws! Good solution.

Keep Them Clean

This is why keeping your dog’s paws clean can be important…but with the right products and professional care. Some off-the-shelf products can lead to dryness and cracking if you’re not careful. Making sure your dog’s cleaning and grooming is done right has a direct impact on their health and your enjoyment.


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