There’s no better feeling than lighting a brand-new scented candle for the first time and waiting for the fragrance to waft through your home. If you have pets, though, there are some precautions you should take to make sure you’re enjoying candles safely around them.
Candles can contain toxins that pets inhale and this can irritate their airways. They also present a fire and burn hazard—especially if they’re left in areas your pet could knock them over. In this post, we’ll share some top tips on using candles around your pet to help keep both of you safe and well.
How to Enjoy Candles Safely Around Your Pets
1. Avoid Certain Types of Candles
When picking out candles, it’s a good idea to check that they don’t contain ingredients that could be potentially harmful to pets. Due to the candle industry not being regulated, it’s not a requirement for brands to label the ingredients they contain.
Some may release toxic chemicals into your environment without you knowing, so if a candle does not have ingredients listed, it’s probably best to put it back and find one that does. Alternatively, reach out to the manufacturer to find out what the ingredients are.
Ingredients to steer clear of are:
2. Choose Natural Candles
As an alternative to Paraffin wax candles and those containing other harmful toxins, you might want to try looking for candles made from beeswax, natural soy, or vegetable-based wax with unbleached wicks that don’t contain lead.
There are even candles labeled “pet-friendly” that you can buy online or in stores. Candles with natural bases are not only better for you and your pets, but also for the environment, so they’re definitely worth considering.
Another tip is to avoid long and thin candles as these are easy for pets to knock over. Instead, go for sturdy, weightier candles that won’t fall so easily.
3. Ventilate Your Home Regularly
Pets can be quite sensitive to the scent of candles and wax melts, and some may just stay away from rooms where they’re being burned completely. If you’re using scented candles, be sure to air out the room or rooms you burn them in regularly, especially just after use. This will make the environment more comfortable and neutrally scented for your pets.
4. Keep Candles Away from Cages
If you have small animals like hamsters or birds that you keep in cages, don’t burn candles next to or near their cage. This traps them in fumes that could irritate their sensitive airways and make them sick. It would be safer to burn candles in another room altogether or place your small pet’s cage in another room while you do so.
5. Keep Candles Out of Reach
This goes without saying, but never leave a candle alone with your pets (or ever, basically) due to the risk of fire hazards and your pet potentially getting burned. Moreover, avoid placing candles on low furniture or anywhere your pet could knock them over or try to play with them. Instead, place the candle in an area your pet cannot get to but that you can see clearly.
Another tip is to place candles and their holder in a bowl of water just in case an accident does happen. Even when you’re not burning candles, it’s prudent to keep unlit candles up out of your pet’s reach in case their curiosity takes hold, and they decide to nibble on one.
Cover your candle with a lid once you’ve blown it out to reduce the fumes and soot that get into the air.
My Pet Ate a Candle, What Should I Do?
So, despite your best efforts, your pet managed to take a bite out of one of your candles. If this happens, it’s best to contact your vet straight away just to be on the safe side—even if your pet has only eaten a small amount of the candle—to find out if you should bring them in for a check-up. Let your vet know how much of the candle your pet has eaten, which part or parts, and any information you have about the ingredients in the candle.
If your pet hasn’t eaten much of the candle, they may suffer from diarrhea or constipation as a result. If your pet has eaten the wick or the candle’s metal base or the candle contains essential oils or other potentially toxic ingredients, your vet may ask you to bring your pet in straight away for treatment.
Watch out for symptoms like lethargy, appetite loss, and vomiting, and let your vet know immediately if you spot any of them.
If you’re a candle lover, we hope you now feel reassured that there are ways to enjoy candles safely around your beloved pets. It all comes down to choosing candles with safe ingredients, ventilating your home often, being smart about where you place the candles, and always being vigilant when using candles around pets. If your pet has eaten a candle or has inhaled fumes and seems unwell as a result, please contact your vet for advice.
Featured Image Credit: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock