It’s incredibly relaxing to come home after a long day and enjoy the soothing scent of burning lavender-scented oils. And nothing opens up your respiratory system like the smell of burning eucalyptus oil. Burning essential oils can create a sense of peace, serenity, and well-being. But while these oils may be soothing to you and great for your respiratory system, are they having the same impact on your pets? As a responsible pet owner who loves their furry and feathered family members, it’s important to ask yourself, “Can I burn essential oils around my pets?” The answer may surprise you.
What Makes Essential Oils Dangerous to Pets?
Many essential oils, especially synthetic and low-grade oils, contain chemicals that can be highly toxic to birds and other pets. When burned, these products can produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, lead from cotton wicks, phthalates, phenols, terpenes, and ketones. Paraffin wax candles can also produce acetone, benzene, and toluene, which are toxic to birds. These chemicals are the main reason why you shouldn’t burn essential oils around your pets.
Active diffusers pump essential oil particles into the air. These particles can land on or be inhaled by your pet, so they should be avoided when you have pets. Passive infusers evaporate the oils and release the scents from the diffused oils into the air. These can be safer for pets, but they can still produce particles that are dangerous for animals. It’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian before using essential oil diffusers to ensure your selected scent is not toxic to your specific pet.
The Impact of Burning Essential Oils on Different Pets?
To know whether or not you should burn essential oils around your pets, you should understand their potential impact on different types of pets. Here are some common household pets and how burning essential oils can affect them.
- Birds — Because of how their respiratory systems work, birds are far more susceptible to the toxins in scented oils than other pets. Their bodies absorb chemicals in the air very quickly, making it dangerous to use essential oils, air fresheners, or candles around them.
- Dogs & cats — The list of toxic chemicals to dogs and cats is extensive. Dog owners should only burn essential oils away from their dogs. If you own a cat, it’s probably best to avoid burning scented oils entirely. Burning essential oils is particularly a problem for cats since they are biologically incapable of removing the toxins produced by burning essential oils from their bodies.
- Fish — Volatile compounds from burning essential oils can dissolve into a nearby fish tank and harm fish by altering the chemical composition of the water or causing irritation or damage to the fish’s gills and other tissues. Some essential oils may also be toxic to fish if added to the water and not appropriately diluted.
- Reptiles — Burning essential oils can also be bad for reptiles. Essential oils can be toxic to reptiles if ingested or if it comes into contact with their skin. Tea tree oil and citrus oils are known to be toxic to some reptiles, including snakes and lizards. It’s best to avoid burning essential oils near reptiles or their enclosures.
Which Essential Oils Are Toxic to Pets?
Because so many essential oils can harm animals, it’s best to assume any essential oil is a hazard until you have evidence to the contrary. It’s important to research any impacts an essential oil can have on your pet and discuss it with your veterinarian before using it. This doesn’t just apply to essential oils included in the ingredients of products intended to be used on their bodies, but also essential oils that are burned as air fresheners. The chemicals in oils can travel through the air, land on your pet’s fur or skin, and become ingested as they groom themselves. Rather than burning essential oils, pet owners should opt for pet-friendly candles instead.
The Danger of Concentrated Oils
If burning oils poses a danger to pets, the highly-concentrated oils can be even more dangerous. Any oil containers in your household should be safely stored away from pets. Should they come into contact with concentrated oils, it’s essential to watch them for signs of sickness or behavioral changes, including instability, low body temperature, or depression. In instances where they may have ingested essential oils, signs of illness may include vomiting and diarrhea. If you notice any of these signs, your pet should see a veterinarian immediately, and you should let the veterinarian know what type of essential oils they may have been exposed to.
Safe Alternatives for Essential Oils
Just because some products are marketed as safe for pets doesn’t mean they are. It’s important to read and understand what chemicals are in these products and to be aware of any potential impacts they may have on your pets. In addition, you should be especially careful when purchasing products online that may come from countries where they are not regulated and do not have standards for manufacturing or labeling that can ensure you know what’s in the bottle. Stick with reliable, trustworthy manufacturers that offer eco-friendly bird, dog, or cat-safe candles.
Shop Our Selection of Pet-Safe Candles
Instead of burning essential oils around your pet, you can opt for air-freshening candles that are genuinely pet safe. At Pet Safe Candles, our number one priority is the safety of animals and the people who give them forever homes. So we combine the best of both worlds with an array of products specifically designed to let you enjoy scented candles’ health benefits and aromas while maintaining a safe and healthy environment for birds, dogs, and cats. All of the veterinarian-approved ingredients in our pet-friendly candles are non-toxic to birds. They can also be used near dogs, cats, small mammals, reptiles, other pets, and people with respiratory issues that make them sensitive to essential oils and air fresheners.
We know how much you love the scent of burning a fragrant essential oil. But we also know that you love your pet more. Essential oils can have many soothing emotional and physical benefits, but unfortunately, they can also have the opposite effect on your beloved pets. So if you’re wondering if you can burn essential oils around your pet, the answer is that it’s almost always a dangerous idea. While you may be enjoying them, essential oils can be toxic or even fatal to your pets.
We’ve designed our pet-friendly candles with the safety and health of pets and their pet parents in mind. Our selection includes an array of scents to please your senses throughout the year, including fruit scents, nature scents, rustic scents, seasonal scents, and even bakery scents. So whether you’re looking for the pleasing aroma of a pumpkin pie candle or the soothing freshness of blue spruce wax melts, we have a scent that will surely provide you with fresh air without putting the members of your animal family at risk. Shop our assortment today!