Are Candles Bad for Dogs? Keep Your Pets Safe at Cozy Home

The concept of home is incomplete without the idea of coziness, and burning candles often play a big part in creating that warm, inviting atmosphere. However, there’s a question that tugs at the corners of our hearts – are these candles bad for our fur babies?

As a devoted dog mom, I must tell you that, yes, certain candles can be harmful to your dogs, which may come as a shock to many. Just as we savor the smell of rich vanilla or floral lavender wafting from a scented candle, our dogs love gorging on the varied scents surrounding them. Considering a dog’s powerful sense of smell, the intense odor of some candles can be overwhelming or even harmful.

Do you want to know more about whether or not candles are bad for dogs? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Can Candles Harm Your Dog?

Our pups use their noses to explore the world around us. It’s a big part of their innate dog training. However, the same scented candle that helps you relax after a long day can have the opposite effect on your dog. Prolonged exposure to intense scents can lead to headaches, dizziness, and even respiratory issues in highly sensitive pooches.

What Makes Candles Harmful to Dogs?

Candles, especially scented ones, can contain paraffin, a petroleum by-product, and chemicals that produce a delightful, potent scent but are toxic to dogs when inhaled. Burning candles can release harmful particles that dogs, with their ultra-sensitive noses, can find overpowering. In worst case scenarios, if curious paws succeed in knocking over a candle, the spilt wax or that quick attempt to submerge a flaming paw in water (remember, water and fire don’t mix well) can result in serious burns.

What Are Essential Candle Safety Tips for Pet Owners?

As dog lovers, the wellness of our fur babies is priority. So, here are some essential tips to keep candles safe around your dog. Firstly, make sure candles are in a secure holder and out of reach from your playful pup. Try to keep burning candles in a separate room where your dog isn’t allowed.

When you do bring out the candles, opt for unscented ones if possible, or at least choose candles made with natural ingredients like soy wax. Secondly, avoid candles that contain essential oils as they can be particularly potent and overwhelm your dog’s sense of smell. So, are candles safe for dogs? In my opinion, it all depends on the candle you choose and how you handle it.

Dogs interacting with lit candles in house.

Make sure to keep your dog’s environment pleasant and not overwhelming. Consider using diffusers with natural scents or burning unscented candles around your dog. If your dog appears to be unwell following exposure to candles or even ends up ingesting candle wax (they always manage to surprise us, don’t they?), don’t hesitate – contact your vet immediately! Just like essential oils, the wax and chemicals found in candles can be toxic if ingested.

In conclusion, the comfort and safety of our fur babies are paramount, so no matter how much a burning scented candle makes our living room smell delicious, we need to ensure it’s not compromising our pet’s wellbeing. If used responsibly, we can create a cozy home that’s also safe for our loyal companions.

Which Type of Candles are Less Harmful for Dogs?

When it comes to the world of wick burning, not all candles are created equal. Luckily for us dog owners, there are versions that our canines will thank us for. The clear winners are beeswax and soy candles. Compared to their paraffin wax counterparts, they emit fewer harmful chemicals when burned and are less likely to cause irritation in your pooch. Have you noticed Fido ever coughing or displaying signs of respiratory discomfort around burning candles? That’s a clear signal – you need to consider a candle switch pronto!

Are Scented Candles Safe for Dogs?

Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Is that vanilla-scented candle that’s setting the ambience at home causing mischief for our furry friends? Short answer: Yes. I’m a newbie freelance vet myself and while I love my job, I’ve observed an alarming number of dogs brought in with symptoms of respiratory distress. Scented candles, especially those containing certain essential oils, can cause havoc on a dog’s respiratory system. Inhaling these fumes may also lead to nervous system damage.

What Makes Scented Candles Harmful to Dogs?

‘But why?’ you might ask. Sweet as they smell, scented candles often contain harmful chemicals including toluene and benzene. When burned, these bad boys emit carcinogenic fumes. Yep, you’re smelling that right – those beautiful smells could contain harmful fumes. Then there’s acetaldehyde, a baddie known for attacking the eyes and respiratory passages of our pets. So while your cozy candle is burning away, your four-legged friend might be tempted to inhale these no-good aromas.

How Can Essential Oils in Candles Affect Dogs?

Let’s talk a little more about those essential oils. Believe it or not, that lavender or tea tree oil candle could cause some serious, dog-unfriendly side effects. If your dog eats any of these, they carry the risk of causing uncomfortable gastrointestinal issues. Worryingly, certain oils can even lead to canine liver damage. Remember: if anything goes awry after a candle party, don’t hesitate to call ASPCA’s poison control center.

What Types of Scents Should Dog Owners Avoid in Candles?

Right, pet parents, it’s time for some candle safety tips. Fragrances you need to avoid in candles are cinnamon, too much citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, and wintergreen. Before making any purchase, I always tell my dog owner buddies to refer to this list, it’s a lifesaver! Keep these in mind to create a pet-friendly, cozy, and delicious-smelling ambiance at home. Above all, keeping our precious four-legged friends safe is our number one priority, right? I mean, who else is going to destroy that new sofa. Stay vigilant and stay informed. It’s about being one step ahead in creating a safe, cozy, and a not-so-kissed-by-fire home with our fur babies.

What to Do if Your Dog Ingests a Candle?

Don’t panic, however, it’s pivotal to promptly contact poison control or the closest vet. While ingesting a candle might not appear to be a significant issue, certain ingredients like birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and others could cause liver and other health conditions in your dog. Not all candles are created equal, so getting the right information about what your pup has eaten is crucial in deciding the next course of action.

What Symptoms Indicate a Dog Has Ingested a Candle?

If your pup has gobbled down a candle, apart from seeing remnants, there are several symptoms you should be on the lookout for. You may notice your dog vomiting or experiencing distress. They might also have an upset digestive tract and demonstrate noticeable discomfort. In some cases, certain candle scents could trigger an allergic reaction, causing your dog to wheeze or worsen pre-existing respiratory issues. Scents like formaldehyde or acrolein, often found in some candles, can be a particular hazard.

What Immediate Steps Should Dog Owners Take if Their Dog Ingests a Candle?

Firstly, stay calm – your pup needs you right now. Try to gather as much information about the eaten candle as quickly as possible. This includes its ingredients, label, and any other important information. With that, reach out to your vet or contact a U.S poison control center immediately. It’s best to avoid any at-home remedies or induce vomiting without professional guidance, as it may worsen the situation or even cause problems. Depending on the nature of the situation, your dog may require immediate professional medical attention.

Are There Safer Candle Alternatives for Dog Owners?

Of course, there’s wax-less or flameless candles which pose less of a hazard. If you’re keen on maintaining that cozy atmosphere without putting your pupper at risk, consider safer options. Use scents that are pet friendly, like diffusers or plug-in air fresheners with scents that are non-toxic to dogs. Always keep these alternatives out of your pup’s reach. If you choose to stick with traditional candles, keep them high enough to avoid canine curiosity and never leave your pets unsupervised around candles. It’s worth noting that ventilation is key too; If you’re going to burn candles or use scents, open a window. And as a bonus tip, training your pets at-home not to jump on furniture or counters where candles may be placed can be invaluable. Remember, the goal is to create a cozy space for both you and your dog. With some caution, awareness, and perhaps some training tips, it can be achieved and everyone can enjoy the comforts and scents of a cozy home – even with an inquisitive, adventurous pup about.

Thanks for the blog graphics: is a participant of several affiliate programs. The list includes (but not limited to) the following: VigLink, Refersion, ShareASale, and Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a mean for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. does not intend to provide veterinary advice. All published articles are meant for informational purposes only and not substitute the professional veterinary consultation.