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Bath & Body Works Candles – Are they Safe for Dogs?

Samantha Reed

By Samantha Reed

scented candles on top of books

Bath & Body Works is a popular candle brand widely available in malls and department stores during the holidays. Candles from Bath & Body Works are great products for enjoying your favorite scents, like Sweet Pea or Japanese Cherry Blossom, as candles, sprays, or lotions.

But are Bath & Body Works candles safe for your pets? The last thing you want is to harm your furry friend.

While it’s unclear whether or not Bath & Body Works candles are safe for dogs, there are general rules to follow regarding burning candles or scented products around your beloved canines. Some pet owners say they’ve had no issues with their dogs around the candles, and others say their dogs have had reactions such as respiratory problems, vomiting, or diarrhea.

While they’re not considered toxic by veterinarians or the ASPCA, Bath & Body Works candles may not be entirely harmless to your dog either. If you have pets, the candles may be relatively unsafe to burn in your home. However, not all Bath & Body Works candles are toxic or will cause a reaction in your dog, so you must check the ingredient lists on your candles and choose for yourself.

Keep in mind that a majority of these candles are made with paraffin wax and scented with essential oils, creating a toxic mixture that can be harmful both to your dog’s skin and respiratory system. Dogs have a higher sensitivity to scents than humans, and if the smell of a candle is bothering you, it’s probably irritating your pet.

If you light a candle and notice your dog rubbing their face, coughing, or sneezing excessively, put the candle out immediately!

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What Makes Bath and Body Candles Harmful?

The most significant issue with scented candles is their main ingredient: paraffin wax. When lit, the wax can cause various respiratory problems as it releases chemicals into the air. The added scents and fragrances within the candle don’t help. The candle can release chemicals like benzene or acetone, which can be toxic to dogs and other pets.

The candle itself is not the only issue. The smoke from the candle can irritate your dog’s lungs and eyes, leading to coughing, sneezing, or other asthmatic symptoms.

While Bath & Body Works does list some of their candles as “pet friendly,” almost all of their product listings state to keep their candles away from pets.

two lit candles in a jar
Image Credit: LNataly, Shutterstock

Making a complete list of Bath & Body Works candles that are safe and or harmful for your canine is an impossible task, considering how many candles they produce every year. When buying a candle made by any company, keep an eye out for ingredients that are unsafe for your dogs. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Paraffin wax
  • VOCs
  • Benzene
  • Toluene
  • Acetone
  • Petroleum Products
  • Formaldehyde

Strong Scents Can be Harmful

Some candle fragrances increase the amount of VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, which are released into the air when burning the candle. The more VOCs emitted, the higher toxicity and chances of your dog or pet reacting to the candle’s scent.

In addition to VOCs from petroleum products and added fragrances, candles may be scented with essential oils, which can be incredibly harmful to your pets. You need to check the ingredients list on your purchases and watch out for essential oils before you burn the candle in your home. For example, peppermint oil is highly toxic to cats and dogs even though it can help you with respiratory problems. Essential oils provide calming aromas to humans but can have dire consequences for our furry friends.

Essential Oils and Your Dog

The highly concentrated mixtures within essential oils can harm your dogs if they inhale or consume them. Not only do dogs have enhanced senses of smell, but they are also unable to metabolize the chemicals in essential oils. Your dog may sneeze, cough, or become teary-eyed if they inhale the fumes.

Ingestion can be lethal for your dogs, especially in large quantities, so it is best to keep candles with essential oils in a secure location. However, some essential oils are safe for your dog.

Safe Essential Oils for Dogs:
  • Cedarwood oil
  • Chamomile oil
  • Cardamom oil
  • Myrrh oil
  • Frankincense oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Rose oil
Harmful Essential Oils for Dogs:
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Pine oil
  • Spruce oil
  • Juniper oil
  • Grapefruit oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Wintergreen oil
  • Clove oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Sweet birch oil

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How Can I Tell if My Dog is Having an Allergic Reaction?

If you are burning a candle in your home, first make sure you have it in a well-ventilated area, and your dog has a safe place to escape to. If your dog is sensitive to strong aromas, you may not have noticed them before.

Keep an eye out for these symptoms:
  • Redness or rashes
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing

If you notice any of these symptoms when burning a candle, your dog is probably having an allergic reaction. You need to extinguish the candle immediately, and if the symptoms worsen or you notice difficulty breathing, contact your vet right away.

sad dog on floor
Image credit: Fran__, Pixabay

Are There Pet-Safe Candles?

Don’t panic! If you love scented candles, that doesn’t mean you have to ban them entirely from your home. Pet-safe candles that use alternative wax, like beeswax or soy candles, are perfectly safe to have in your home.

Keep in mind that some of these candles may still use essential oils, which does not eliminate the scent problem. Soy or beeswax candles can contain scented perfumes and essential oils that are harmful to your pets, so, just as before, you need to check the ingredient list on your scented products. Although a candle can be marketed as pet-safe or “natural,” it does not mean it is safe to have around your dog.

burning candles and aromatic plants on the table
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Bath & Body Works candles were designed for humans and their households, not for our sensitive pets. While we may enjoy the comforting scent of Fresh Linen fluttering throughout our home, the candles can contain toxic chemicals and essential oils that are detrimental to your dog’s health. There are safe candles for your pets, like soy wax or beeswax products, that you can use instead.

Always look at the candle’s ingredients, keeping an eye out for essential oils like peppermint or tea tree, before bringing the candle into your home. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Featured Image Credit: Daria Minaeva, Shutterstock

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