Are Scented Candles Safe For Dogs?

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You love a good scented candle. When you light one, it takes you to a different place. Perhaps you feel like it's fall and you're about to sip on a pumpkin spice latte, or you're at your favorite spa getting a relaxing massage.

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While you love scented candles, you're worried that they might be irritants and causing issues for your dog. Before you light another one, you want to find out whether or not they're a problem for your pup. By doing your research, you can figure out the answers and feel confident that your dog is safe and healthy.


Scented candles: are they safe?

There's a lot of misinformation out there about scented candles and whether or not they're toxic to you and your dog. While some sources say they are unhealthy, others claim they are perfectly fine to use.


According to House Beautiful, some bloggers have claimed that scented candles contain a lead core, which, they claim, can release harmful carcinogenic chemicals into your home. However, in an interview with House Beautiful, Rob Harrington, Ph.D., a toxicologist with the National Candle Association said that ​lead wicks have been banned in the United States since 2003​.


Even if you have candles from before 2003 in your house, they likely don't have lead in them because ​National Candle Association members voluntarily agreed not to make candles with lead in them in 1974​. Major scented candle manufacturer Yankee Candle is a member of that group.


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Another concern some have cited is that burning candles made of paraffin wax is not good for your health. ​But it turns out that the study about paraffin wax being harmful that everyone was citing is not trustworthy.​ Harrington said it's "non-science." He also stated that ​there's no evidence that soy candles, beeswax or any other type of wax is harmful when burned.


Around the web, there are various other concerns floating around about the safety of the scents in scented candles. However, the fragrance is actually safe. ​The fragrances usually conform to standards set by The International Fragrance Association, which rules that chemicals need to be non-toxic and safe.


Generally, scented candles should be safe for your pet. But they may cause some breathing problems if your dog is particularly sensitive.

Watching out for sensitivity issues

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There is the possibility that your dog could be sensitive to the smells and smoke from scented candles. According to Emergency Vets USA, ​if your dog is sensitive, you might notice they'll have watery eyes, a runny nose, and itchy skin, and they'll start sneezing and coughing.


If you notice any of these symptoms, remove the candle and call your veterinarian immediately for medical advice.

How to safely use scented candles around your dog

If your dog is sensitive to scented candles, then light the candles in another room or avoid them altogether. For an alternative, you could try diffusers with essential oils, but they may end up being irritants as well. Also, if your dog ingests them, they can be harmful to his health.


Whenever you light scented candles or any candles, make sure you practice fire safety, as they are fire hazards if your dog can reach them​. Keep them high up on tables that your dog cannot access, and blow them out whenever you're not around.


Scented candles, whether they're made from paraffin wax, soy, or beeswax, should be perfectly fine to use in your home,​ as long as you practice basic fire safety. If your dog starts showing signs of sensitivity, then blow out the candles and take them to another room. Remember to call your vet if you ever see any health issues arising from the scented candles.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.