Are candles safe for your pet?

Are candles safe for your pet?

Lighting your favorite fall scented candle might give your living room that just baked pecan pie smell. But, it could overwhelm your pet's senses.

Our pet's sense of smell is one of their superpowers. A dog's snoot is 100,000 times more powerful than that of their human counterparts. A cat's sniffer ranges from 9-16 times more powerful. Such strong sniffer skills make our fur kiddos easy to overwhelm with fragrances, which could lead to toxicity.

But, don't ditch your favorite autumn harvest candle just yet! By following a few simple rules, you can keep your pets safe and house smelling great.

Orange Cat taking a Napping in living room

Rule 1: Go natural

Stick to dye-free soy candles, beeswax candles, or vegetable wax-based candles. And, always steer clear of paraffin/petroleum by-product home goods - that's a rule even for us hoomans.

Gravitate towards "natural fragrances" or pet-safe, diluted essential oils. Synthetic fragrances can cause nasal and eye discharge and sneezing at the least. The only scents that are non-toxic for dogs and cats are those made with all-natural ingredients, like herbs or some essential oils.

Frenchie wrapped in a cozy blanket

Rule 2: Inspect the scent

All-natural scented candles are usually made with essential oils. But unlike humans, dogs and cats lack the proper enzymes to break down and digest many essential oils.

Essential oils are absorbed by our pets and metabolized in the liver. If not diluted or distilled properly, absorption can lead to airway irritation, induce vomiting, or respiratory distress. In rare cases, symptoms of essential oil poisoning can change from moderate (drooling) to severe (liver failure) if action is not taken.

But, with essentials oils being the #1 way to eliminate odors and even pests, like fleas & ticks, where do pet parents draw the line?

Black Lab looking at camera in living room happy

The key lies in potency and purity!

The good news is, your average candle should be perfectly fine! But, always inspect how your candle is scented. Only use scented candles that derive from natural fragrances (like herbs, fruits, & flora) and high-quality, steam-distilled, pure essential oils that are properly diluted to ensure our four legged friends safety.

Undiluted or phenol essential oils pose the most danger. Never apply pure essential oils (deemed pet-safe or otherwise) directly to your pet's coat or skin.

    Woman cuddling with small dog on the couch

    Click here for a full list of Essential Oils that are considered toxic for Dogs and Cats.

    This list is not exhaustive and you should inquire with your vet if you are using any essential oil or essential oil based product.

    Rule 3: Open a window

    When in doubt, air it out. Always make sure your lit candles are in a well ventilated room with good circulation. Or, simply open a window!

    That way, any air fresheners can diffuse their scent and dissipate in strength.

    Cat is sneezing with open window behind it.

    Rule 4: Take a hint

    If your pet, dog or cat, is leaving the room after you light your favorite candle, the scent might be overloading their senses. That is your cue to blow out your burning candles and give your beloved pet some fresh air.

    From one Pet Parent to another... Watch out for the zoomies. While natural wax is easier to clean, hot wax and fur do not mix. Skip a trip to the emergency vet and put your candles out of reach.

    Dog Running Downstairs

    While a dog's snoot is the strongest out of the two, cats are more sensitive (to everything, amiright?) by nature. If a burning candle, room spray, or home good is potent enough, adverse effects can come on rather rapidly, especially for our feline friends.

    Always watch for symptoms when burning a candle or using room sprays. Toxicity symptoms may include:

    • low body temperature
    • difficulty breathing
    • wobbly walking
    • excessive drooling
    • lethargy or weakness
    • vomiting or upset stomach

      Switch to a certified safe pet candle - like Pet House or Major Darling. These use pet-safe levels of diluted essentials oils that have been tested by our family.

      Or, go with a failsafe option: unscented candles. While that might take the fun out of burning candles, it's the safest option for your pet's health.

      For more Pet Parenting tips...

      Tomlinson's is your go-to pet supply store for natural, healthy pet products in Austin and the Central Texas region. Come shop in-store and we will help you create the perfect diet specifically for your dog or cat!

      Visit our shop full of products sold through team members trained in animal nutrition.

      Related Posts

      15 Holiday Foods for Cats to Avoid

      While it's difficult to deny those begging kitty eyes from underneath the dinner table (or on a counter top), not sharing your 'people food' is often in the best interest of your pet's health. 
      Read now

      Dog Travel Essentials Checklist ūüöĆ

      Can't wait to get on the road again? Whether you are going cross-country or planning a nearby staycation, bringing your dog is always a plus. But, how should you prepare for a pet-friendly vacation?
      Read now