Candle season is here! Just kidding. Every season is candle season. You don’t need an excuse to light a candle, set the mood, indulge in a little aromatherapy and relax! While we definitely endorse incorporating candles into your everyday routine, we must remind you not all candles are pet safe. Pet-safe candles have cleaner ingredients and are free of parabens and sulfates. Funnily enough, this means pet-safe candles are also more people-, child- and planet-friendly than typical store-bought candles.
10 Pet-Safe Candles Without Any of the Yucky, Dangerous Stuff
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Why Aren’t Regular Candles Safe for Pets?
Regular candles are usually—and surprisingly—not safe for pets. Loren Lewin, founder and CEO of Companion Candles, told us, “Many store bought candles are made with paraffin wax (a soft, colorless solid derived from petroleum, coal or oil shale) which is not only bad for you, but also your pets.” On top of that, many fragrances are oil-based and contain carcinogens, mutagens and other toxins linked to cancer, an increased risk of birth defects and organ disease.
According to the National Candle Association, when candles burn, the wax becomes liquid and is “drawn up the wick.” The wax becomes so hot, it turns into a gas and is broken down into microscopic, inhalable, particles of hydrogen and carbon. So, whatever is in the wax and wick, you and your pets inhale. This is why ingredients matter.
What Makes a Candle Safe for Pets?
The good news is there are lots of candles on the market with safe ingredients for pets (and people). First, Loren recommended looking for soy- or coconut wax-based candles. These waxes are clean and safe. “You can also do beeswax,” she added, “but that is not cruelty free.”
Loren says that paying attention to fragrance sources, like essential oils, and wick material is also important. “Cotton and wooden wicks with no spray are preferable!” she said. Try to verify the cotton wicks haven’t been treated with any chemicals, either.
Remember: Dogs and cats have exceptional senses of smell. A strongly scented candle might smell good to you but drive your pet crazy. In fact, there are a few essential oils you may want to avoid if possible. Wintergreen, tea tree, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, cinnamon and citrus essential oils are known for being super toxic to dogs.
Tips for Lighting Candles Around Pets
Some pets make a habit of eating things that aren’t food. If this sounds like your dog, be sure to keep candles way out of reach—especially if they’re scented using essential oils. Tail wagging could also inadvertently knock over a burning candle, which would be very bad for everyone.
Pets with asthma or brachycephalic conditions (like bulldogs with shortened snouts) shouldn’t be exposed to burning candles regularly.
The candles listed below are pet-safe options for anyone who celebrates candle season (which is year-round and ever-present).
Loren’s products are cruelty-free, vegan, and “free of the four P's: paraffins, phthalates, preservatives and petroleum.” She uses a coconut-soy wax blend and sources the “highest quality fragrances available.” Plus, they come with a feel-good factor because a portion of every sale goes to animal welfare organizations. Companion Candles come in glass containers, which are eco-friendly.
This paraben-free candle is made with non-GMO, food-grade certified coconut oil and a lead-free cotton wick. Stone Candles says their COCO line of products are clean burning and the fragrances used are “free from carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and other potentially hazardous chemicals often found in fragrance.” Their site also states coconut wax helps enhance fragrance and produces less soot!
This organic coconut wax candle has a wooden wick that gives off a rustic crackle as it burns. The wood is sustainably harvested from fruit trees, according to California-based Hemlock Park. Plant-based essential oils used for fragrance are paraben-, sulfate- and phthalate-free. Another perk? These candles are totally vegan and cruelty-free.
For the oenophiles out there, this wine-scented candles are for you, or, as one reviewers notes, an “amazing gift option for those who love candles and or are wine connoisseurs.” Created by Craig Davies, who wanted a safe product for his rescue and foster dogs. Not only did he achieve his goal, he did it in an eco-friendly way! Made with 100 percent soy wax, essential oils, upcycled glass wine bottles and cotton wicks, you can rest easy knowing burning one of these is A-OK for your pup and the environment.
If you want to go above and beyond in your candle burning, grab one of these. Not only are they safe for pets (soy wax, 100% cotton wick, all-natural fragrance oil), the makers have partnered with World Land Trust to save “430 square feet of threatened habitat” with every sale. The container is made with glass and wood. Choose from five scents (each with a matching design on the container to show you the habitat you’re supporting!).
This Chicago-based, female-owned Etsy shop is full of hand-poured soy wax candles in tons of incredible scents. Each candle is made from a small batch and contains a cotton wick and high-quality fragrance oil. The glass jar with a screw-top lid is also an eco-friendly - and reusable! - component. Starting at just $8 for a 4oz. candle, it’s hard to beat the price point.
Aside from being festive and colorful, these candles by Nectar Bath Treats are sulfate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, vegan, hand-made, coconut wax and no microplastics! The brand prides itself on its sustainability practices and makes tons of eco-friendly and vegan bath and body products to compliment any self-care routine—for you! (Use pet-friendly shampoo on your pets, please.)
This is a candle designed to be pet-safe and helpful when it comes to pet smells. One Fur All Pet House candles are hand-poured, contain 100 percent natural soy wax and fitted with lead-free cotton wicks. You will not find paraffin dyes, formaldehyde or any other toxic chemicals here. These will burn up to 60 hours too, keeping your space fresh for a long time.
Public Goods is quickly becoming one of our new favorite retailers. Their commitment to sustainability and clean ingredients is next level - and affordable! Candles from Public Goods are 100 percent plastic-free, cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, lead-free and phthalate-free. Plus, their wicks are cotton, and they use high quality essential oils for scent. One reviewer noted the candle has a “clean burn” and “subtle aroma.” Sounds perfect to us!
As we get closer to the holiday season, you may be growing concerned about what you light on your menorah if pets are at home! Ner Mitzvah has you covered. Their Chanukah candles are made with 100 percent pure beeswax (which is what gives them their warm, yellow color). They are also certified kosher. Dripping is minimal, and you can rest easy knowing your pets won’t inhale toxic ingredients. One reviewer raved about them, saying, “I love these. I’ve been experimenting with different brands for the last few years. I really wanted beeswax, something that didn’t drip a ton, and looked pretty. These are that.”