Lighting some candles in your home seems like the perfect cold weather experience for many, giving you an opportunity to curl up with a warm beverage, a book or a good TV show, and hopefully your dog or cat. But if you have a pet in your home, there are additional precautions you want to take before lighting any candles to avoid fire and health risks for your pets.
How to Burn Candles Safely with a Dog or Cat
All of the same general safety tips for candles remain important when you have an animal in your home. You should never leave a candle burning unattended and should keep candles on elevated surfaces and away from edges.
But there are also additional concerns that you should watch out for if you have a cat or a dog, including:
- Put Candles in Safe Spaces - A wagging tail can knock a candle off of a table or a cat that jumps up on surfaces can come too close to a flame. Place candles where they are completely out of reach for any pets. If you have curious cats that will get up on counters and tables, you may want to consider other options that do not have an open flame, such as a diffuser, wax warmer, potpourri, or artificial candles.
- Buy Candles Made with Natural Ingredients - Because of their scent, dogs can mistake candles for something edible and try to eat them. Candles that use natural waxes like soy or beeswax will cause less stomach upset than those that have chemicals mixed in. The wax will also burn cleaner to reduce the chance of health risks for both you and your dog from breathing in harmful materials.
- Watch Out for Essential Oils - Many candles achieve their scent by mixing different essential oils. Unfortunately, certain essential oils in the air can be harmful to pets, causing vomiting, seizures, paralysis, and skin irritation. You should check to see if the candles you are buying are scented with essential oils and avoid any that have cinnamon, pine, citrus, peppermint, tea tree, ylang ylang, and other non-dog-safe essential oils in them. There are specific canine-safe candles that can be a more reliable alternative.
If your pet has an accident with a candle, you will want to treat the issue quickly. For a dog that eats a candle, you should contact the pet poison control to find out the next steps and potentially the emergency vet. If your dog gets wax on them, you should run cold water over the affected area or cover it with a cold washcloth for at least 5 minutes. Once the wax hardens, you can clip off the hair that has wax on it. Treat any burns with cold water and contact your vet in case additional treatment is needed.