Are Candles Bad or Safe for Birds? (5 Easy Safety Guides)

Yes, candles are bad for birds. Birds have a susceptible respiratory system, and they are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of toxins in the air.

Remember to avoid scented candles, smokey candles, incense, and air fresheners made with toxic oils to keep pet birds safe. 

Some of the ingredients that are commonly found in candles, such as paraffin wax, artificial fragrances, and dyes, can be toxic to birds when inhaled. These toxins can cause breathing, coughing, and sneezing difficulty. In severe cases, they can even lead to death.

Safe Candles and their Importance for Bird Owners

Safe candles are a crucial consideration for bird owners and households with pets. These candles are specially designed to be used without posing significant risks to birds or other living beings when used correctly.

They are formulated with non-toxic and safe materials, making them a better option for creating a bird-friendly environment.

When you choose the safest candle, you prioritize the well-being of your pet birds.

Certain candles may contain harmful chemicals and toxic substances. It is essential to be aware of these potential dangers to safeguard the well-being of both birds and humans, as well as the environment.

Choosing Natural Scents for Safety

Synthetic fragrances used in candles can contain harmful chemicals that may not be safe for birds. As an alternative, essential oil scents derived from plants are considered a safer option.

Safe Candles and their Importance for Bird Owners

Air Purifiers and Bird-Friendly Environment

Air purifiers and safe air fresheners have less relation to the concept of improving air quality. But some candles can contribute to a bird-friendly environment by ensuring that the air they breathe remains clean and healthy.

Natural Candles vs. Conventional Candles

FeatureNatural CandlesConventional Candles
WaxSoy wax, beeswax, coconut wax, etc.Paraffin wax, gel wax, etc.
OriginPlant-based, renewable resourcesPetroleum-based, non-renewable resources
Burning timeLonger (up to 50%)Shorter
Scent throwStrongerWeaker
Soot productionLess soot producedMore soot produced
Smoke productionLess smoke producedMore smoke produced
ToxicityNon-toxicMay contain harmful chemicals
Environmental impactLower environmental impactHigher environmental impact

The Importance of Bird-Friendly Candles

Bird-friendly candles are specifically designed and labeled as safe for birds, ensuring they do not release harmful fumes or toxins.

Choosing such candles guarantees that your feathered friends are protected, and you can enjoy a pleasant environment without endangering their health.

Long-lasting scents in candles are desirable for continuous enjoyment; however, it is crucial to ensure that the extended fragrance does not compromise safety.

If candles emit strong fumes, they can lead to temporary blindness in birds.

Birds’ Respiratory System

Different Types of Candles and Their Ingredients

There are many different types of candles available on the market, each with its own unique set of ingredients. The most common types of candles include:

  • Paraffin wax candles: Paraffin wax is a petroleum-based wax that is relatively inexpensive and easy to work with. However, it can also release harmful toxins when burned, such as benzene and toluene.
  • Soy wax candles: Soy wax is a plant-based wax that is made from soybeans. It is a cleaner-burning alternative to paraffin wax, and it also releases a pleasant, natural scent.
  • Beeswax candles: Beeswax candles are made from the wax produced by honeybees. They are a natural and sustainable option, and they also release a subtle, honey-like scent.
  • Coconut wax candles: Coconut wax is a plant-based wax that is made from coconut oil. It is a hard wax that burns cleanly and evenly.

The ingredients in candles that are harmful to birds

IngredientSafe Percentage for BirdsNotes
Soy WaxGenerally considered safePreferred alternative to paraffin wax
BeeswaxGenerally considered safeNatural and non-toxic option
Vegetable-based WaxesGenerally considered safeVarying ingredients; check labels
Essential OilsLess than 1% or as recommended for bird-safe essential oilsSome oils are harmful to birds
Lead-free Wicks100%Metal core wicks should be avoided
Natural Dyes/PigmentsNontoxic and in trace amounts, if presentMinimal exposure is recommended
Benzene and Toluene0% (Avoid any candles containing these VOCs)Highly toxic to birds
Formaldehyde0% (Avoid any candles containing formaldehyde or its derivatives)Carcinogenic and harmful to birds
Acrolein0% (Avoid any candles containing acrolein or its derivatives)Irritating and toxic to birds

Artificial fragrances: Artificial fragrances are often used in candles to add scent. Many artificial fragrances contain phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors can interfere with the production of hormones, and reproductive, developmental, and behavioral problems.

Dyes: Dyes are sometimes added to candles to give them a specific color. However, some dyes can be toxic to birds if they are ingested.

Wicks: Wicks are small, string-like objects that hold the flame in a candle. Some wicks are made from zinc, which can be toxic to birds if it is burned.

The signs and symptoms of candle poisoning in birds

Candle poisoning in birds can vary depending on the type of candle and the amount of toxins that the bird has been exposed to. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Respiratory problems: Difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing.
  • Eye irritation: Watery eyes, redness, and discharge.
  • Nausea and vomiting: These symptoms may occur if the bird has ingested candle wax or wicks.
  • Seizures: This is a serious symptom that requires immediate veterinary attention.
  • Death: In severe cases, candle poisoning can lead to death.

Tips to help prevent candle poisoning in birds

  • Avoid using candles altogether if you have birds.
  • If you do choose to use candles, keep them away from your birds and never leave them unattended.
  • Choose candles that are made with safe ingredients, such as soy wax or beeswax.
  • Avoid candles that are scented with artificial fragrances.
  • Make sure that your candles are burning in a well-ventilated area.

Safe alternatives to candles for bird owners

Essential oil diffusers: Essential oil diffusers release essential oils into the air, which can add a pleasant scent to your home without the harmful toxins found in candles.

Flameless candles: Flameless candles are battery-operated candles that do not produce a flame. They are a safe and convenient option for bird owners.

Natural air fresheners: There are a number of natural air fresheners available that do not contain harmful toxins. These air fresheners can be made from ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils.

Cinnamon sticks: Cinnamon sticks can be placed in a bowl or hung from a string to add a subtle, cinnamon scent to your home.

Orange peels: Orange peels can be placed in a bowl or hung from a string to add a fresh, citrus scent to your home.

Tea bags: Tea bags can be placed in a bowl or hung from a string to add a relaxing, herbal scent to your home.

Fresh flowers: Fresh flowers can add a beautiful and fragrant touch to your home without the risk of toxins.

How birds’ respiratory systems affected

There have been many studies that have investigated the consequences of inhaling candle emissions for birds.

One study found that birds exposed to candle smoke for just 30 minutes showed signs of respiratory distress.

Another study found that birds exposed to candle smoke for 24 hours had significantly lower levels of oxygen in their blood than birds that were not exposed to candle smoke.

Candle Flames, Air Quality, and Bird Safety

Birds are naturally attracted to bright lights, and they may be drawn to the flame of a candle. This can be a serious hazard, as birds can easily get burned or injured if they come into contact with the flame.

The quality of the air in your home can have a significant impact on the health of your birds.

Candle smoke can contribute to poor indoor air quality and can cause eye irritation.

Incense and Candle Flames Can Be Harmful to Birds?

Yes, there is a relationship between incense and candle flames in terms of bird safety. Both candles and incense can emit harmful smoke and fumes.


It’s essential to approach the use of candles around birds with caution. While some candles can be safe, others may release harmful substances.

Prioritizing bird-friendly alternatives ensures a safe and enjoyable environment for our feathered friends. So, let’s keep our homes bird-friendly and full of warmth, minus any potential risks from candles!


Are Yankee Candles Safe for Birds?

Yankee Candles are a popular brand known for their extensive range of scents and high-quality manufacturing. Yankee Candles are not safe for birds. They contain paraffin wax.

Are Pet House Candles Safe for Birds?

Pet House Candles are not safe for birds. They contain paraffin wax, which can release harmful toxins when burned.

Are Soy Candles Safe for Birds?

Soy candles are generally considered to be safer for birds than paraffin candles. However, it is important to choose soy candles that are free of artificial fragrances and dyes. These ingredients can also be harmful to birds.

Are Bird Safe Candles Available on Amazon?

Yes, there are some bird-safe candles available on Amazon. These candles are made from natural ingredients, such as soy wax and essential oils. They are free of harmful toxins and they do not produce a flame.

Are Beeswax Candles Safe for Birds?

Beeswax candles are generally considered to be safe for birds. However, it is important to choose beeswax candles that are made from pure beeswax. Some beeswax candles contain added ingredients, such as essential oils, that can be harmful to birds.

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