Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Answering Life's Big Question, One at a Time

Why Do Your Dog's Feet Smell Like Popcorn? Basically the same reason mine smell like bad cheese. It's the bacteria:
Many dogs' feet do smell like popcorn! Mind blown.
More accurately, they smell a little closer to corn chips, hence the nickname for the condition: "Frito Feet."
You know, I'd never thought about it that way, but they do!
So why does it happen? The skin of most animals is home to a lot of microbes. As Bill Bryson puts it in A Short History of Nearly Everything, "If you are in good health and averagely diligent about hygiene, you will have a herd of about one trillion bacteria grazing on your fleshy plains—about a hundred thousand of them on every square centimeter of skin." Dog feet are a great place for bacteria and yeast to take up residence because there's a lot of moisture and little to no air circulation in the folds and pockets of skin between the toes and foot pads. Bacteria flock there and reproduce with exuberance.
The world looks a whole lot different to a microbiologist.
All these microorganisms emit their own distinct odors (they're what give us BO), and the popcorn/corn chip smell on some dogs' feet could be due to yeast or Proteus bacteria. Both are known for their sweet, corn tortilla–like smell. Or it could be Pseudomonas bacteria, which smell a little fruitier—but pretty close to popcorn to most noses.
Hat tip to Ace's ONT. Wombat-socho brings the grand Rule 5 roundup with "Rule 5 Sunday: Rebel Girls."

No comments:

Post a Comment