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Is Incense Bad For Dogs? (Answered by vet)


Is incense bad for dogs

We’ve all heard about the benefits of burning incense in our homes, but did you know that this seemingly harmless act might be bad for your furry friend?

As a pet owner, it’s important to understand the repercussions of any decisions we make with regard to their health and well-being.

With that in mind, today we are here to answer the burning question: Is incense bad for dogs? Our expert vet is here to break down why this could potentially be an issue.

Table of contents

Is incense bad for dogs?

According to Dr. Linda Simon, most incense is well tolerated by dogs and won’t cause any real issues. However, dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than we do and may find certain scents overbearing. Similarly, their sensitive noses may be irritated and we might find they start to sneeze and develop a runny nose.

If your dog has an underlying respiratory issue such as chronic bronchitis or tracheal collapse, it is sensible to avoid incense as well as other similar products including essential oils and air fresheners.

Long term, there are no studies that have looked into the effects of long term incense smoke inhalation for dogs. It is possible that there would be some negative effects.

If your dog has managed to eat an incense stick, don’t panic. Generally, this won’t cause any big issue. At worst, we may see a stomach upset. If you’re concerned your dog has eaten a lot or is not themselves, don’t hesitate to contact your vet.

Is incense bad for dogs?

Avoid incense with essential oils

Essential oils are becoming more and more popular and as a result, many incense sticks now include them. Despite their popularity, it is important to remember that essential oils can be toxic for dogs. According to the ASPCA we can see ‘Vomiting and diarrhea with large ingestions’.

So if you’re going to buy incense, try to find one without any essential oils. This will help reduce the chances of your dog feeling ill.

Tips For Burning Incense With Dogs

So, if your dog doesn’t have any respitatory issues, burning incense is unlikely to do much harm. However, if you want to be extra careful with your furry friend, here are 3 tips:

Choose a Spot That Fido Can't Reach

The truth is, dogs are curious creatures and if they get their paws on a lit incense stick, it could result in some serious danger.

Imagine the confusion as your pup tries to figure out what to do with a burning stick in his mouth! The fire hazard alone should be enough to convince you to keep all lit incense sticks out of your pup’s reach.

But don’t worry, there are still ways to enjoy some aromatherapy around your pup. Just make sure to choose a spot for placement that Fido can’t reach and you’ll be just fine. A shelf up high or an enclosed cabinet should do the trick!

Make Sure There's Plenty of Fresh Air

It’s important to make sure there’s plenty of fresh air when burning incense if you have a pup in the house. Ventilation is key to avoiding any potential problems with your furry friend.

So before you light up, make sure to open a window and provide some extra air circulation. This will help keep your pup safe and ensure the smells don’t become too overwhelming. Plus, you’ll get the added bonus of a nice breeze! Win-win.

Go For The Good Stuff

When it comes to incense, go for the good stuff! Not only is it safer for your pup, but it’s also better quality and more enjoyable.

When you invest in good quality incense, you get a greater range of scents that last longer and smell better.

Plus, they’re usually made with natural ingredients instead of some of the nasty chemicals found in cheap incense.

What are other alternatives to using incense with dogs?

If you don’t want to risk using incense with your pup, there are some other alternatives you can try. Here are 4 we recommend:

Using candles

Candles can be a great way to enjoy some aromatherapy around your pup. Not only are candles aesthetically pleasing, but they also come in an array of scents – from earthy to fruity.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about ashes or embers as you do with incense sticks! With the right candle, you can fill the room with a pleasant scent while keeping it safe for your pup.

Just be sure to keep them out of your pup’s reach and use good quality candles that won’t give off any nasty chemicals.

Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are a great way to keep the air fresh and clean without any of the risks associated with incense. Not only do they trap unwanted particles, but some models release pleasant scents as well. That means you can enjoy aromatherapy without any potential danger to your pup.

Not to mention, air purifiers are a great way to reduce allergens in the home and improve your pup’s breathing too. So why not give it a try?

Try Homemade Scents

For those looking for an all-natural approach, homemade scents are just the ticket. You can create your own unique aromas without any worries about safety or quality. Plus, you get the added joy of crafting your own signature scent!

Whether it’s a light floral mix to help you relax or something spicy and sweet to celebrate a special occasion, there are tons of recipes out there for all sorts of scents. Just make sure you use ingredients that are harmless to your pup.

Making your own scents means you can have fun experimenting and adding a bit of creativity to the mix. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll even create the world’s most perfect scent – just don’t forget to share it with Fido!



If you want something easy and safe to freshen up the air around your pup, Febreeze is the way to go. According to the experts at ASPCA, this odor-eliminating spray is totally pup-friendly and does a great job of neutralizing odors without any risk.

Plus, Febreeze comes in a variety of scents that you can choose from, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemical smells.

Final thoughts – Safety first

No matter what route you take, whether it’s the good stuff or some homemade scent, make sure to keep your pup safe and sound. Just remember – never leave burning incense unattended! It might be a fun way to fill your home with aromas, but safety always comes first.

So give your dog a hug, open the windows, and enjoy some safe and pleasant scents around your pup!

Written by

Tim Smith
With years of experience writing about dogs, this author is a go-to source for insights on the furry friends. A lover of all animals, this writer's work has been published in many respected publications.
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