Are Candles Bad For Pets?

cat and candle safety

Are you an animal lover and a candle lover? They are both great in their own ways but it leaves you wondering how well they mix. I was sitting here thinking about the dangers of using candles around a pet and thought I would do some research on the topic. This is what I found. Are candles bad for pets?

Candles are bad for pets. They can be more sensitive to the toxins and chemicals that are released through the candle burning process. Paraffin wax candles and scented candles are particularly bad for pets. However, some pets can tolerate the use of candles better than others.

Are Candles Bad For Cats?

Candles are unsafe for your cat. The flame is dangerous. The scents and candle wax used in the candle can also produce toxins that are hazardous for your cat to breathe. Location and candle type are the most important things to consider when having candles around your cats.

The curiosity of cats is famous, and when it comes to candles, that is a bad thing. The dancing of a flame can be irresistible to a cat, and if it is within reach then it can only end badly.

cat reaching for a candle

Are Candles Bad For Dogs?

Candles are safe for dogs. A candle flame is less hazardous to a dog because dogs are not as mobile as other types of pets. The main point of concern is the ingredients in the candle and if it releases toxins when it burns.

Dogs are usually on the floor or sometimes sitting on a piece of furniture. You do not usually seem them walking across tables as you do cats. This makes them less likely to interact with a candle, decreasing their likelihood of getting burned or starting a fire.

dog sleeping with candles

Are Candles Bad For Birds?

Candles are unsafe for birds. The toxins released from paraffin wax and from the scent additives pose a serious threat to your bird. Birds are extremely sensitive to these different types of toxins and it can be fatal.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Canary in the coal mine”? They actually used a canary in coal mines as an early warning system for coal miners. If the bird died then the miners knew to get out because carbon monoxide or other toxic gases.

This is because birds can be incredibly sensitive to these gases and toxins. I would never burn a scented candle in the same room as my bird.

An unscented, 100% soy wax or beeswax candle is a little safer.

candles are dangerous for birds

Are Candles Bad For Snakes?

Candles are unsafe for snakes. Snakes are susceptible to the toxins released by a paraffin wax and the scent additives in your scented candles. In addition, you should not use any air fresheners or sprays around your snake.

Snakes, like birds, are extremely sensitive to the toxins released by paraffin wax candles.

Like birds, a 100% soy wax or beeswax candle that is unscented may be safe around your snake, but I would keep my candle burning to a separate room.

candles are dangerous for snakes

Are Candles Bad For Fish?

Candles are unsafe for fish. Fish are sensitive to the toxins and vapors that may be emitted from your candle. These toxins, soot, and wax vapors can float through the air and land in your aquarium. This can potentially poison your fish and be fatal.

Perhaps more so that any other pet on this list, fish are trapped in their aquarium and can not move if something is bothering them. In addition, it does not end when you blow the candle out, those toxins are going to remain in the aquarium.

Fish, along with snakes and birds, should not be exposed to aerosols, air fresheners, bug sprays, or scented candles.

scented candles are dangerous for fish

Potential Hazards

Let’s take a look at some of the potential hazards that come up when burning candles around your pets.


If your cat or dog swats at the candle, nips it with its nose, or unwittingly swings its tail through it, it may knock it over, get burned, or spread a fire throughout your home.

Pets, like people, can get first, second, and third-degree burns. If this happens you need to wrap your pet in a cool damp towel to help cool the wound and call a veterinarian.

You should not use ointments and creams designed for people on your pet, instead get one from a vet.


If your pet gets wax on it, the wax will quickly soak into its fur and burn its skin. The pet will not know what to do, so quickly grab the pet and again, wrap it on a cold damp towel and call a local vet.

I would let the vet handle removing the wax and keep the pet from trying to do it, if the skin is burned then skin may come off with the wax. Leave this for the professionals at the vet office.


Beyond the damage that can be done to your cat or dog, think of the potential damage to your home. If your cat or dog catches fire, or simply knocks over a candle on the carpet, you can lose your home and your family.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates nearly 1,000 home fires each year are started by pets. You can learn more about that here at the Red Cross website


Burning candles can also release toxins that can be dangerous for your pets. These toxins come from the paraffin wax and certain perfumes used on the making of the candle.

Paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct that is one of the least expensive and most common forms of wax. It can release toxins as well as carcinogens that are both bad for you and your pet.

Birds, snakes and fish are particularly susceptible to this.

How To Safely Use Candles Around Pets

While it will take some practice the good news is that you can keep your pets and keep enjoying candles, however you might need to make some adjustments. Let’s take a look at how to safely use candles around pets.

Do not burn candles in the same room as your pet if possible. This is the only way to be 100% sure that your candle is not having a negative impact on your pet. If the room is large enough and well ventilated you may be able to use a candle on the other side of the room.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to choose pet safe candles?

Look for products that contain all-natural ingredients if you want to reduce the chances that the candles could negatively impact your pets. This includes looking for candles made with soy wax, coconut wax and beeswax.

Are reed diffusers safe for pets?

Reed diffusers are somewhat safe for pets. However, essential oils can still agitate some pets and it is good practice to use them in a separate room from your pets if at all possible.

Are wax warmers safe around pets?

Wax warmers are reasonably safe around pets. The best part about wax warmers is that you basically eliminate the possibility that a fire could start when your pet knocks it over. However, if you have a pet that is sensitive to fragrance oil you may want to consider keeping pets in a different room.


While we all love our pets, and our candles. The two do not necessarily mix. For the health of your pet do not use scented candles near it.

If you absolutely must use candles near your pets look for candles made of 100% soy wax or beeswax. You can also look for candles that are scented with 100% natural essential oils, but that is likely even too much around your pet bird.

In closing, it is probably best if you did not use your candle in the same room as your pet at all.

Are Candles Bad For Pets?

Carl Adamson

Hi, I'm Carl Adamson, one of the founders here at Candleers. A few years ago I got really into the art and craft of candle making, initially with soy wax container candles. My friends started asking me to make candles for them and pretty soon it turned into a nice side-business. I started this website as a way to document what I've learned over the past few years and hopefully help others in the process. I still love candle making but I'm learning that what I enjoy even more is the business side of things - and for this reason I've started consulting others on how to start and grow their own candle-making businesses and side-hustles.

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