Is Incense Bad for Dogs?

Various types of incense are made with aromatic plants, oils and resins that emit pleasant aromas when combusted or heated. Unfortunately, incense also produces toxic air pollutants. These pollutants are not only harmful to people, but also to our canine companions.

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Incense Effects

When burned, incense can produce volatile organic compounds such as benzene, formaldehyde, butadiene and styrene, along with toxic gases like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, according to an article published in the May 2013 issue of "Environmental Monitoring and Assessment." These chemicals are harmful to both people and pets. Because dogs have lungs that are more sensitive to environmental pollutants than those of humans, the toxic gases emitted from incense may have a greater effect on Fido than on you, according to the Dogster website.

Considerations

When burning incense inside your home, do so in a well-ventilated area, away from your pup, near an open window. For the safety of your dog, make sure the window is screened so he can't jump out of it. Dogs have much more sensitive sense of smell than humans, and the scent of aromatherapy products like incense can bother Fido, even causing headaches, according to Radford G. Davis in "Caring for Family Pets: Choosing and Keeping Our Companion Animals Healthy." In addition, keep any incense out of your pup's reach so that he doesn't accidentally ingest it, which may cause some tummy upset.

References

Caring for Family Pets: Choosing and Keeping Our Companion Animals Healthy; Radford G. Davis
The Science of the Total Environment: Physical Characterization of Incense Aerosols
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment: Emission of Volatile Organic Compounds From Religious and Ritual Activities in India
WebMD: Having a Bad Air Day? Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Petfinder: How Cigarette Smoke Affects Pets
Science Daily: Secondhand Smoke Is A Health Threat To Pets
Dogster: Does Poor Air Quality Affect Pets?
DogChannel.com: Don’t Let Poor Air Quality Hurt Your Dog
PetPlace.com: Nontoxic Items Commonly Eaten by Dogs

About the Author
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, crafts, television, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared in "The Southern California Anthology" and on Epinions. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.