Incense is bad for dogs because it contains chemicals that are dangerous to their overall health and wellbeing. It can irritate dogs due to their sensitive sense of smell and inhaling the smoke can cause respiratory problems.
We get it—dogs can get stinky and beyond the scent benefits of burning incense, it is also an important part of your meditation and metaphysical practices. However, you should always heavily consider what type of incense you plan to burn and carefully pick where you burn it in your home to ensure the safety of your dog (and any other pets you have!).
Why Is Incense Bad For Dogs?
Incense contains various chemicals, many of which could be toxic to dogs. For example, one chemical used in incense, camphor, can cause seizures or even death if ingested by dogs. Additionally, the smoke produced by burning incense may contain carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous for dogs because they normally have lower concentrations of lactic acid dehydrogenase, an enzyme that helps metabolize this compound. The smoke produced by incense could have enough carbon monoxide to cause poisoning in dogs.
A more direct danger of burning incense around dogs, however, is due to dogs themselves. Dogs are much more susceptible to respiratory irritation than humans, and there is some evidence that dogs may be especially sensitive to particulate pollutants like smoke. The small bodies of dogs do not absorb as much oxygen as large bodies, so they can inhale dangerously high amounts of carbon monoxide before symptoms develop (in large dogs, the ratio is reversed).
Additionally, dogs may be more likely to ingest substances due to smell or packaging that may lead them to think it’s a tasty snack. Again, because of the small size of a dog’s lungs in comparison to a human’s, certain chemicals can affect them much more dramatically than humans. That’s why it’s recommended you don’t burn incense around your dog.
How to Safely Use Incense Around Dogs
There are a few ways you can still safely burn incense around your dogs. These include paying close attention to proper ventilation, burning only top-quality incense, and removing your dog from the room when you are burning incense.
Use High-Quality Incense
Everyone who has ever experienced the delightful feeling of burning high-quality incense understands how important it is to use the best quality materials. It’s doubly important if you have a pet in the home. High-quality incense is less likely to have as many toxins in it. This can help to keep the air cleaner and safer for your pet. However, this doesn’t mean you should necessarily let your pet be around even the highest-quality burning incense and if they happen to be in the same room by mistake, focus on ventilating properly.
Make Ventilation a Top Priority
The use of incense is often associated with meditation, yoga practices, aromatherapy sessions, or simply as a way to make one’s home smell nice. However, due to its nature of releasing smoke when burned, it may cause problems for those who are more sensitive. Ventilation should always be a priority when burning incense but it is especially important to focus on ventilation when there is a dog or other pet in the home. Proper ventilation will help the smoke dissipate and leave the home, keeping your environment safe.
Keep Your Dogs Out of the Room Where Incense Is Burning
You should always keep your dog away from your incense when it is burning. Not only is it a safety hazard for them to be near a burning stick or cone, but it also puts them closer to the smoke which can cause health problems.
Can Incense Kill Dogs?
It is unlikely for incense to kill a dog immediately, however, if you continuously burn incense around your dog it may lead to health problems that could result in death.
Can Incense Give Dogs Seizures?
If your dog is susceptible to seizures, burning incense may trigger a seizure. It is best to speak with your pet’s trusted veterinarian to confirm what factors will trigger seizures in your pet.
Alternatives to Burning Incense
If burning incense is not an option for your household, there are alternatives available. The two major options are oil diffusers and candles.
An oil diffuser will give you the scent you’re looking for without the smoke. You’ll still want to be careful about usage as different oils are not safe for dogs and other household pets.
Beeswax and Soy Candles
You can use beeswax and soy candles as alternatives to burning incense. Because candles are often used for rituals these can be an okay stand-in for some practices. But, you’ll want to stay away from paraffin candles as these are not good options for burning around pets.