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You might think I’m crazy, but my dog smells of popcorn and I want to know why. I’m not the only person in the family who thinks it and I don’t know if it’s normal. She’s my first dog and I don’t make a habit of nuzzling up to other people’s dogs, so I don’t know if this is a common thing.

It’s not at all an unpleasant smell, but it increases in the evening when she is curled up and warm. Sometimes I walk into our lounge and it smells like the foyer of the Odeon! Please tell me I’m not mad. What is this popcorny smell?

Wolfgang Dohne advises…

The sweet smell you are describing is most likely emitted by your dog’s paws or less commonly by the ears.

It is usually caused by a mixture of yeast and proteus bacteria, which are found on the surface of the skin in areas that are often moist, warm and a bit dirty. This produces a perfect environment for these microorganisms. Sometimes, pseudomonas – a more aggressive bacterium – can be involved as well.

If the smell is rather strong and your dog is licking or scratching these areas, you might like to take a closer look to check for redness or swelling of the skin, or for other signs of inflammation.

In most cases of just smelly feet, no treatment is needed, as the skin is well prepared to defend itself against a certain concentration of bacteria and yeast.

If the smell is rather strong, you might consider trying chlorhexidine wipes for a few days, which you can get without a prescription, to see if it makes a difference.

In all cases of a recurring strong smell or of signs of a concurrent inflammation, a visit to your vet is the best option to investigate the exact cause and to decide on a more tailormade treatment.

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