Are Candles Bad for Dogs? All You Need to Know

Imagine a peaceful evening with candles glowing and your dog snuggled up next to you. It’s a lovely scene, but did you know that some candles might not be safe for your dog? So, are candles bad for dogs?

This raises concerns about whether those candles can harm your furry friend. The truth is, not all candles are okay around dogs. In this guide, we’ll look at the different types of candles and ingredients and how they can affect your dog’s health. This way, you can enjoy candlelit moments without worrying about your pet’s safety.

Understanding the Effects of Candles on Dogs

Candles can have a range of effects on dogs, depending on the type, ingredients, and potential hazards associated with their use. While some candles can be bad for dogs, others are perfectly safe. A dog’s nose is much more sensitive than a human’s, so it’s important to be mindful of the fragrances and materials we use in our homes.

Scented vs. Unscented Candles

While those delicious-smelling candles may delight our noses, they may not be as enjoyable for our canine companions. Scented candles bad effects can sometimes irritate dogs’ noses, and certain essential oils found in these candles can be toxic to our furry friends.

On the other hand, unscented candles pose fewer risks, as long as they don’t contain harmful ingredients.

Steering clear of toxic essential oils is crucial as they may harm dogs. Some essential oils to avoid include:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea tree oil
  • Wintergreen
  • Pine
  • Peppermint

When selecting candles to use around your pets, it’s best to opt for unscented varieties or those containing pet-safe scents and essential oils. It’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before using any essential oils around your dog.

close picture of candles

Chemicals in Candles

Did you know that certain chemicals in candles can be harmful to dogs? Paraffin wax, for example, can emit carcinogens when burned, posing a risk to both humans and pets.

Moreover, synthetic fragrances can also contain harmful ingredients that can irritate a dog’s nose and lungs.

As you choose candles for your home, consider natural wax varieties like soy, beeswax, or vegetable wax. These are more dog-friendly than paraffin candles or synthetic wax. These natural wax candles burn cleaner and have fewer harmful chemicals, making them a better choice for homes with sensitive noses.

Potential Hazards

Using candles around dogs can present potential hazards, making candles bad for dogs. These hazards include:

  • Ingestion of candle wax or components, which can cause gastrointestinal issues
  • Burns from accidentally knocking over a lit candle, which can result in painful injuries
  • Negative reactions to scents or essential oils

It is important to take precautions and ensure the safety of your dog when using candles in your home by following some essential candle safety tips.

Minimizing these risks involves:

  • Selecting candles crafted from safe materials and scents, such as burning scented candles made with natural ingredients
  • Careful placement and supervision when dogs are around lit candles
  • Ensuring good ventilation and air quality prevents respiratory issues or irritation related to scented candles or essential oils.

Read also: Halloween Safety Tips for Pets: Protect Your Furry Friends

a dog in a sofa with candle

Choosing the Right Candle for Your Home

Selecting the right candle for your home involves considering several factors, such as the type of wax, scents, and essential oils used, as well as safety features like non-flammable holders and cotton wicks.

By opting for candles that are specifically designed with pet safety in mind, you can enjoy the ambiance of a lit candle without putting your furry friend at risk.

Natural Wax Options

Natural wax options like soy, beeswax, and vegetable wax offer a safer alternative to paraffin or synthetic wax when it comes to the wellbeing of your dog. These natural waxes are clean, non-toxic, and don’t release harmful chemicals when lit, making them a better choice for homes with pets.

Opting for candles made from natural waxes can decrease the risk of irritation or respiratory problems for your pet, while you continue to bask in the warm glow and fragrances of candles.

Remember to keep candles out of reach of your pets and always supervise them when candles are lit, as candles bad for pets can cause harm.

Safe Scents and Essential Oils

When it comes to scents and essential oils, not all are created equal. Some fragrances, such as vanilla, lavender, and musk, are considered safe for dogs, while others can be toxic and potentially harmful.

I recommend consulting with a veterinarian before using any essential oils or scented candles around your pet, as individual dogs may have different sensitivities or allergies.

Be mindful of your dog’s individual reactions to different scents and adjust your choices accordingly to ensure a happy and healthy home environment.

Safety Features

In addition to selecting candles made from natural waxes and safe scents, it’s important to consider safety features like non-flammable holders and cotton wicks when you light candles.

Non-flammable holders, made from materials like glass, ceramic, or cast iron, can help reduce the risk of fire and ensure that the candle remains stable and secure.

Cotton wicks are another important safety feature, as they won’t release lead fumes when lit and are safer for your dog if accidentally ingested.

Taking these safety features into account ensures you can relish the ambiance of a lit candle without endangering your cherished pet’s wellbeing.

three candles

Tips for Using Candles Safely Around Dogs

1. Proper Placement and Supervision

Keeping candles out of reach of pets is essential to preventing accidents or injuries. Place candles on high shelves, tables, or mantelpieces, where your dog cannot access them, and avoid areas with runners or other dangling objects that might tempt your pet to play with the flame.

Always monitor lit candles and never leave your dog unattended in a room with a burning candle. Practicing careful placement and supervision helps mitigate risks linked to burning candles near dogs.

2. Ventilation and Air Quality

Ensuring adequate ventilation and air quality is crucial for preventing irritation or respiratory issues in dogs. Here are some tips to help:

  • Keep windows open to allow fresh air to circulate.
  • Use fans to help disperse any smoke or fumes that candles may produce.
  • Take your dog outside for some fresh air regularly.

By following these tips, you can help maintain a healthy environment for your dog.

Avoid using candles in drafty rooms, as the scented candles may contain chemicals that could be harmful to pets. Maintaining good ventilation and air quality safeguards your dog’s health while you reap the benefits of a fragrant and cozy home.

3. Alternatives to Traditional Candles

If you’re concerned about the safety of using traditional candles around your dog, there are several alternatives available. Some safe options include:

  • LED votives, which provide the appearance of a flickering flame without the risk of an open flame or heat
  • Flameless candles, which use LED lights to create a realistic flame effect
  • Battery-operated candles, which eliminate the need for an open flame

These alternatives are a safe option for homes with pets.

Reed diffusers are another alternative that can offer a fire hazard-free fragrant solution, as long as they don’t contain toxic oils and are kept out of reach of pets.

Considering these alternatives allows for a safe and inviting atmosphere at home without endangering your furry friend’s wellbeing.

two candles in the dark

Handling Candle-Related Incidents Involving Dogs

Despite our best efforts, accidents can happen, and it’s essential to know how to handle candle-related incidents involving dogs.

Being prepared and knowledgeable on how to react in these situations helps reduce the risk of further injury or complications, ensuring your beloved pet’s safety and wellbeing.

Ingestion of Candle Wax or Components

Should your dog ingest candle wax or components, immediate consultation with a veterinarian or emergency facility is crucial. Keep an eye on your dog for any signs of discomfort or strange behavior, and avoid giving any medications without consulting a professional first.

Check the Pet Poison Control website for guidance on managing the situation, and remember that it’s always better to seek professional advice than to attempt home remedies or wait for symptoms to worsen.

Treating Burns and Removing Wax

If your dog suffers a burn from a candle or has wax stuck in their fur, submerge the affected area in cold water to soothe the skin and help remove the wax. Gently use a fine-bristle brush or shedding comb to pry the wax off, being patient and cautious not to cause further injury.

For severe or hard-to-reach wounds, seek veterinary care immediately to prevent complications and ensure proper treatment.

Addressing Negative Reactions to Scents or Essential Oils

If your dog has a negative reaction to a scent or essential oil, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the source of the scent.
  2. Provide fresh air by opening windows or doors, using fans, or taking them outside.
  3. Monitor your dog for any signs of distress or worsening symptoms.
  4. Consult a veterinarian if necessary.

Promptly addressing negative reactions and seeking professional advice helps lessen the risk of further complications and guarantees your dog’s safety and comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are candles bad for cats?

It’s important to be cautious when burning candles around cats, as they can be harmful if made from paraffin wax, contain lead wicks or release synthetic oil and fragrances.

Toxic fumes such as naphthalene or phthalates can aggravate existing respiratory illnesses, so opt for a pet-safe candle and never leave them in the same room together.

Are incense bad for dogs?

Burning incense can harm your canine companion, causing respiratory problems, including bronchitis and asthma. It’s best to keep your pup away from burning incense.

What scents are toxic to dogs?

Liquid potpourri and many essential oils can be toxic to dogs if ingested or if their skin is exposed. These include cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and ylang-ylang.

Are wax melts safe for cats?

It is generally safe to use wax melts and wax warmers around pets, but caution should be taken. Look for non-toxic essential oils or fragrance oils in natural waxes, and keep any wax melts out of reach of pets. It’s best to use an electric heater to avoid soot and naked flames.


Understanding the potential risks of candles to your beloved dogs is crucial for ensuring their safety and well-being in your home. While some candles may pose hazards due to toxic ingredients or open flames, being informed about the types of candles you use and taking necessary precautions can help you create a cozy and safe environment for both you and your four-legged friend.

By making mindful choices and prioritizing your dog’s health, you can continue to enjoy the warmth and comfort of candles without compromising their safety.”

Amy Tutchan

Amy Tutchan, a dedicated and versatile editor at, whose heart beats in rhythm with the paws of our canine companions. Amy is a passionate advocate for dogs of all shapes and sizes, and her extensive knowledge and genuine love for these loyal friends shine through in every word she writes. With a keen eye for detail and an unwavering commitment to the welfare of dogs, Amy will be your go-to source for all things canine-related on our blog.

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