Is Incense bad for Dogs?

BluntPower Incense Sticks

Discover the Hidden Dangers and Protect Your Furry Friends

Who doesn’t love the soothing scent of incense filling their home? But did you know these seemingly harmless fragrance sticks might pose hidden dangers to your furry friend? 

In this blog post, we'll explore the potential risks and answer, “Is incense bad for dogs?”

We'll also offer valuable tips on how to protect your canine companion from harm. 

Key Takeaways

  • Incense burning can harm dogs, leading to respiratory issues and allergies.
  • Take safety precautions when using incense around pets, such as proper placement and never leaving it unattended.
  • Use pet-friendly essential oils, soy/beeswax candles, or natural air fresheners instead of incense to keep your furry friend safe.

The Hidden Dangers of Incense for Dogs

Dogs are known for their incredible sense of smell, but this heightened ability also makes them more susceptible to the harmful effects of incense. 

Incense burning can expose dogs to respiratory issues, irritation, and allergies because of their sensitive lungs and strong sense of smell. It can also present a fire hazard, jeopardizing the safety of your furry friend.

Understanding why incense is harmful to dogs involves acknowledging the potential risks of inhaling smoke and the chemicals often present in incense sticks. 

In this article, we will discuss why incense is bad for dogs and concerns pet owners, delve into these risks in greater detail, and suggest ways to safeguard your canine companion.

Respiratory Problems

The smoke produced by burning incense can lead to respiratory issues in dogs, including asthma and difficulty breathing. 

This is particularly concerning for brachycephalic breeds, which are more susceptible to smoke inhalation due to their unique facial structure.

Signs of respiratory distress in dogs exposed to incense smoke may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irritated eyes
  • Frequent coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath

If any of these symptoms are observed in your dog, it is imperative to eliminate the incense and seek advice from a veterinarian to guarantee appropriate care and treatment.

Irritation and Allergies

Inhaling incense smoke can be detrimental to dogs. 

Chemicals present in the smoke can cause skin irritation, inflammation, and redness. Certain ingredients in incense, such as phenols and essential oils, can trigger allergic reactions in dogs, manifesting as coughing, sneezing, and skin inflammation.

Although specific breeds may be more prone to incense allergies due to their sensitive respiratory systems, monitoring all dogs for signs of irritation or discomfort is essential. 

If your dog shows symptoms of an allergic reaction, it is necessary to eliminate the incense and seek veterinary advice for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Fire Hazards and Safety Precautions

Burning incense can represent a significant fire risk, particularly around pets, making burning incense bad in such situations. 

Poorly placed incense sticks can inadvertently come into contact with your dog’s fur, resulting in disastrous outcomes. To prevent such accidents and protect your furry friend, following safety precautions like proper placement and never leaving burn incense unattended is crucial.

The following sections will examine practical steps to ensure the safe use of incense around your canine companion, reducing the risk of fire hazards and other possible dangers.

Proper Placement

Ensuring proper placement of incense is vital to avoid accidents and keep your pets safe. To achieve this, place the incense at a height too high for dogs to reach. 

Use a heat-resistant incense holder or burner that provides stability and catches any falling ash.

Various incense holders, such as the Dog & Bone Incense Holder and the Ceramic Cat Incense Holder, are designed with pet safety in mind. 

These holders securely hold incense sticks, ensuring no accidents or harm can befall your pet.

Never Leave Unattended

It’s important to never leave incense burning without supervision, as this can lead to potential fire hazards and harm to your dog.

If your dog ingests incense ash, monitor them closely for signs of illness or distress, and seek professional advice from a veterinarian if concerning symptoms arise.

To extinguish incense safely, press the lit tip against a heat-resistant surface with force, use a snuffer, or run the lit end underwater. For incense cones, place a lid or ashtray on top of the holder.

Identifying Harmful Ingredients in Incense Sticks

Being aware of harmful ingredients, such as toxic chemicals and low-quality materials, can help reduce the risks associated with incense that could compromise your dog’s health. 

Research has shown that toxic chemicals commonly found in incense include:

  • Polyaromatic hydrocarbons
  • Benzene
  • Toluene
  • Xylene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Carbon monoxide

Low-quality materials used in incense production can produce unpleasant or artificial aromatic scents, making the incense bad and toxic.

Examples of such materials include:

  • Samson charcoal
  • Red sandalwood (not natural sandalwood)
  • Alder
  • Synthetic materials like glue and artificial fragrances

To protect your dog, opt for high-quality incense made from natural ingredients.

Ventilation and Air Quality

Maintaining proper ventilation and air quality is significant when using incense around dogs, as it can help reduce possible harm. 

Opening windows or doors to allow fresh air to circulate can reduce the smoke, creating a safer environment for your pet.

Air purifiers can also effectively reduce incense smoke, providing your dog with cleaner air.

A HEPA filter is considered the most effective filter for reducing airborne pollutants.

Alternatives to Incense for a Fresh-Smelling Home

If you’re concerned about the potential dangers of incense for your dog, consider pet-friendly alternatives like essential oils, candles, and natural air fresheners. 

These options can provide a pleasant scent in your home without exposing your canine companion to the harmful effects of incense smoke.

The subsequent subsections will examine these alternatives in greater detail, outlining their benefits and safe usage around your furry friend.

Pet-Friendly Essential Oils

Using pet-friendly essential oils in diffusers can be safer for scenting your home. 

Examples of beneficial essential oils for dogs include lavender, chamomile, and lemon balm. 

However, it’s important to consult a veterinarian before using essential oils around your dog, as some may be harmful.

Constantly monitor your dog’s reaction when introducing new scents, as individual animals may have unique sensitivities. If you notice any signs of discomfort or irritation, discontinue use and consult your veterinarian.

Soy and Beeswax Candles

Soy and beeswax candles are another excellent alternative to incense, as they burn cleaner and longer than paraffin candles. 

These scented candles are safe for dogs, and many brands offer pet-friendly options.

When using candles around your dog, remember that not all are safe; keep them out of reach and never leave them unattended. This will help prevent accidents and protect your best friend from potential harm.

Natural Air Fresheners

Natural air fresheners can effectively keep your home smelling fresh without exposing your dog to harmful chemicals. 

Ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and citrus peels can be used to create homemade scents that are safe for your pet.

Experiment with different combinations of pet-safe ingredients to find the perfect natural air freshener for your home. Remember to always monitor your dog’s reaction to new scents and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Monitoring Your Dog's Reaction to Scents

While trying out different scents in your home, monitoring your dog’s reaction is vital to ensure they’re comfortable and not experiencing any irritation or discomfort. 

Signs of scent irritation in dogs may include:

  • Excessive paw-licking
  • Scratching
  • Head shaking
  • Hair loss around the ears
  • Discharge from the ears
  • Red and inflamed skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Unpleasant odor

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, discontinue the use of the scent immediately and consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

Tips for Responsible Incense Use Around Dogs

Following responsible incense use tips can reduce your dog’s health risks. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Maintain proper ventilation by opening windows or doors to allow fresh air to circulate while burning incense.
  • Choose high-quality incense made from natural ingredients to avoid exposing your dog to harmful chemicals.
  • Ensure the safe placement of the incense to prevent your dog from knocking it over or getting too close to the burning end.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of incense while keeping your dog safe.

When placing incense, choose a location that is out of reach for your dog and use a heat-resistant incense holder for stability. 

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the soothing scent of incense while keeping your precious pet safe and healthy.


In conclusion, while incense can create a soothing atmosphere in your home, it’s essential to be aware of its potential dangers to your dog’s health. 

By understanding the risks of respiratory problems, irritation, and allergies and taking the necessary safety precautions, you can protect your canine companion from harm. 

Consider pet-friendly alternatives like essential oils, candles, and natural air fresheners to keep your home smelling fresh without compromising your dog’s well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any pet-safe incense?

Yes, pet-safe incense options include tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, pine, cinnamon, and clove.

What happens if my dog eats incense?

Ingesting incense may cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea in some dogs, but long-term smoke inhalation could lead to respiratory problems.

Can incense be toxic?

Yes, incense can be toxic. Burning incense creates carcinogens, toxic volatile compounds, and particulate matter, which can lead to respiratory diseases such as asthma and increase the risk of upper respiratory cancers and squamous cell lung cancer.

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