Are scented candles harmful for dogs and cats?

Everyone knows that the UK is a nation of pet lovers. Recent studies suggest that in 2022 the UK dog population topped 13 million with the number of cats in the UK coming close behind at almost 11 million.

With so many of us sharing our homes with much loved pets it is only natural to wonder if scented candles might be toxic to dogs, cats and other furry friends.

Aside from the obvious concerns around basic candle safety and the potential fire risks of burning scented candles, there is often a secondary concern around whether it is safe to use scented candles around pets like dogs and cats.

Are scented candles and wax melts toxic?

All our candles and wax melts are made from natural soy wax. However the majority of manufacturers make their candles from paraffin wax. Although paraffin wax is not toxic in itself, it is petroleum based and does release potentially harmful chemicals into the air when burned.

The chemicals released when burning paraffin wax can include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates. In small doses and with limited exposure the associated health risks are small—we experience this in everyday life through exposure to traffic exhaust fumes and the pollution generated by the burning of fossil fuels—but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best to avoid ourselves and our pets to these potentially harmful chemicals in our own homes.

What are the alternatives to paraffin wax candles?

If you have any concerns about the health risks to yourself or your pets when burning scented candles then the good news is that there are alternatives that are readily available. Candles made from beeswax, soy wax and other plant-based waxes will burn much cleaner and release far fewer VOCs and particulates into the air that you breathe.

At Rising Lotus Scented Candles, all our candles and wax melts are made from soy wax—a processed form of soybean oil. Not only does it have a lower melting point than other waxes and burns cleaner, it is a 100% renewable resource and is far more environmentally friendly than other, traditional waxes. Our wicks are also 100% natural, made of either cotton or wood.

So are scented candles harmful to dogs?

If you enjoy the relaxing, mood enhancing benefits of scented candles but you are worried about how this might affect the health of your pet then don’t. The fragrances released when burning scented candles won’t hurt your dog or cat. The risk of exposure from VOCs and particulates is insignificant, especially if you use a totally natural product like Rising Lotus Scented Candles.

Of course smell is very subjective. We all have our likes and dislikes when it comes to fragrances—and it is no different for animals. Dogs especially have a finely tuned and very powerful sense of smell, so they are more sensitive to scents and odours than us humans. It is perfectly possible that the fragrance you find particularly relaxing or invigorating may be the one that your pooch turns up his nose at. Although it is unlikely to cause your pet any real distress or upset, if you find your dog prefers to avoid your company when you are immersed in your favourite fragrance it might be that he just doesn’t appreciate it in the way that you do. There’s no accounting for taste!

What about wax melts, are they harmful to pets?

If you prefer to use wax melts rather than burning scented candles then the story is pretty much the same. Unlike candles, the use of wax melts does not involve actually burning the wax, so the temperatures involved are lower and the levels of VOCs and particulates will also be reduced along with any risk to your pet’s health.

Just like with scented candles, if you use wax melts made from natural materials like soy wax the health risks to you and your dog or cat are insignificant. And with soy wax being 100% natural and vegetable-based, there will be no negative health effects if your dog decides that a wax melt would make a tasty treat. But please, we certainly don’t recommend feeding wax melts to your dog no matter how delicious you think they smell!

Where can I buy pet-safe wax melts in the UK?

If you are UK based and are looking for somewhere to buy wax melts or scented candles that are safe to use around pets then you won’t have to look too far. Just ask your local supplier if their wax melts are made from soy wax, or another natural product as opposed to paraffin wax.

Or you could pop over to our Etsy shop where we sell a range of beautiful, gorgeous-smelling wax melts and scented candles. Our entire product range is vegan- and environmentally friendly and can be delivered to your door anywhere in the UK.