Are Candles Bad for Dogs? Here’s What You Should Know

This is a guide covering candles and dogs.

Aromatherapy has been a buzzword in social media for a long time now.

We all have been seeing posts with #selfcare #selfpampering sessions almost every weekend.

A couple of essential oils, scented candles, sheet masks. Voila! You are good for a self-care session. That’s an experience close-to spa that you can set up at home.

While there’s nothing wrong with a bit of self-care involving the candles, if you are a dog parent, you have to worry about your pet babies while burning candles.

Sure, you must be following the basic candle safety rules. You always keep the candles out of reach of the pet so that your over-zealous pup doesn’t knock the candle down.

But is following the basic candle safety precautions enough? Are candles safe for dogs?

Some types of scented candles release toxins and chemicals that are proven to be harmful to dogs. If you ask us if the candles are bad for dogs, the answer is, some types of candles ARE bad for dogs.

Always check the ingredients of the candle before you buy a candle if you have a pet.

Now don’t fret! We will tell you all you need to know about the candles and which kinds of candles are bad for dogs.

Don’t worry! You can still have your weekend self-care sessions without affecting your dog baby.

Let’s dive right in!

Are Candles Bad for Dogs?

Conventional candles have a lot of chemicals that when inhaled regularly pose health risks to humans as well as dogs.

The US EPA has confirmed that when conventional candles are burnt, they release a whole host of toxins such as carcinogens, neurotoxins, reproductive toxins, etc.

Animals are more sensitive than humans due to their size and metabolism.

are candles bad for dogs
dogs and candles

So, dogs get affected by these toxins faster than humans. The toxins released while burning the conventional candles might cause long-lasting ill effects on your dog’s health.

These toxins may affect the coordination and the central nervous system. They may also cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, etc.,

Candles also have essential oils in various concentrations. Essential oils, when inhaled in the wrong doses are fatal.

Ingredients to Look out for in Candles:

  • Paraffin – Conventional candles are usually made of paraffin. Paraffin is a petroleum-based ingredient. When burned, it releases carcinogens.
  • Lead – Some of the candle wicks have lead in it. We all know that lead exposure can lead to central nervous system problems. Lead also decreases the overall air quality of the place. This results in indoor air pollution.
  • Artificial scents and fragrances – known to have allergens and irritants. They might trigger underlying allergies for both humans and dogs.
  • Acrolein, Formaldehyde, and Acetaldehyde – released when paraffin candles are burned. Daily exposure to these chemicals may cause cancer.
  • Benzene – Known carcinogen. It is a compound present in the soot of the candle.
  • Toluene – Known to cause nervous system problems. Also present in the soot of the candle.

What Scents are Toxic to Dogs?

Dogs are more sensitive to scents than humans. While humans have about 6 million olfactory (smell) receptors in their noses, dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors.

So, if your dog is acting weird after lighting up that scented new candle, you might want to reconsider that new scented candle.

While not all scented candles are bad for dogs, candles with artificial scents may cause problems to the dogs.

Artificial fragrances have allergens that might cause the dogs to cough and sneeze.

They might also release volatile compounds that might trigger an asthma attack in dogs.

Essential oils are also proven to be toxic if inhaled or ingested in high concentrations.

They release toxins that might disrupt the nervous system, digestive system, and endocrine system.

The next time you buy a candle, be mindful of the added artificial fragrances.

If you are buying a candle with essential oils, check the concentration of the essential oils used in your scented candles.

What Types of Candles are Safe for Dogs?

Since we said some types of candles are bad for dogs, please don’t go to the other extreme and stop burning candles altogether.

There are safer alternatives that are pet-friendly.

Go for candles that are made of natural waxes such as soy wax, beeswax, coconut wax, vegetable oils, etc., Always make sure that the wick is made of pure cotton.

Make sure that the wick doesn’t have a metal core that might release heavy metals into the air.

While purchasing candles with scented essential oils, always check for the percentage of the essential oils used.

Also, check if the essential oil used in the candle is safe for your dog.

Soy Wax

Soy wax is made of hydrogenated soybean oil.

Since it is made completely from soybeans, it is 100% biodegradable.

Some manufacturers may add additives such as scents and fragrances for a better scent.

Make sure that these scents and fragrances do not contain phthalates.


Beeswax is a natural type of wax. It poses no health risks when compared to other synthetic waxes.

Beeswax candles burn bright, last for a lifetime, and have very few chemicals. They burn clean, without releasing soot, volatile compounds, or any toxic fumes.

Coconut Wax

Coconut wax, like wax, is a natural wax. It is made of coconut oil. Coconut wax is also 100% biodegradable and free of chemicals.

They produce clean burns, free of soot and other toxic chemical compounds.

Palm Wax

Although there’s a ton of negative press around palm wax, if the palm trees are ethically grown, palm wax is also a safer option when compared to paraffin wax.

Are Scented Candles Toxic?

In a scents, yes. (see what I did there?)

Scented candles are bad for dogs. But not all of them. Conventional candles have a ton of harmful chemicals and artificial fragrances like we listed above.

These chemicals release toxic compounds that are detrimental to your dog’s health.

But the good news is, there are safer alternatives that do not affect your dog’s health. Avoid the scented candles made of paraffin wax.

Always prefer candles made of natural ingredients such as beeswax, soy wax, etc. Avoid artificial fragrances.

Use candles with natural added fragrances made of essential oils.

Check with the candle manufacturer if the candles are pet-friendly or not.

Final Remarks

We hope we have given you enough insight into what types of candles are bad for dogs and what is not. Ingredients matter.

So look for the ingredients that are deemed to be harmful.

You can still enjoy the pleasing aroma and aesthetics of the candles.

Make a conscious pet-friendly choice while buying the candles.

Goes without saying, always keep your candles out of reach of your pets and children.