Is Incense Bad for Dogs? Can I Have It in My House?


Incense has several uses, and it’s often used to freshen up the smell of indoor spaces. While the smell may be pleasant and rejuvenating to human noses, incense isn’t very safe for dogs. The scent can be an irritant to them, and incense can be a safety hazard around dogs.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can never burn incense in your home. So, before you light an incense stick, make sure you know how to safely use incense in a home with dogs and other pets. We’ll explain more in this article.

Why Incense Is Bad for Dogs

Dogs have much more sensitive noses and primarily use their noses to navigate the world. While human beings have 40 million olfactory receptors, dogs have way more–2 billion, to be exact. So, dogs spend a lot of time sniffing and inhaling to understand a situation.

Since incense emits smoke, dogs will inhale both its scent and smoke. Dogs’ sensitive noses may already not like the smell of incense, and the smoke just adds more irritation.

Brachycephalic Breeds

Incense may be particularly irritating or harmful to brachycephalic dog breeds. These types of dogs have short snouts or flat faces. Examples of brachycephalic dog breeds include English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, and Boston Terriers.

Because of their flatter faces, they can’t breathe as well and often have breathing problems, especially if they’re overheated or exhausted. Adding smoke and strong scents to the mix only exacerbates breathing issues and will further irritate brachycephalic dogs.

Fire Hazards

Lastly, incense can become a fire hazard when it’s lit up. Excited dogs or dogs with long tails can run the risk of knocking over an incense burner. Puppies can also easily bump into incense burners as they zoom around rooms with their boundless energy or let their curiosity get the better of them and swat at a lit incense stick.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

How To Safely Freshen Up a Home

Not all incense sticks are made with the same material. So, some can be safe around dogs, and there are some incense sticks that are made specifically with pet owners in mind.

These types of incense sticks are intentionally made with materials that produce a cleaner burn with less smoke. Just make sure to monitor your dog’s condition the first few times you use these incense sticks and see if you notice any irritation or difficulty breathing.

If you’re looking to freshen up your home, you can also use pet-friendly candles. Many pet-specific candles have odor-eliminating properties as well. However, these candles are just as much of a fire hazard as incense burners. So, make sure to place them in hard-to-reach places.

Lastly, you can also use air freshener sprays that also work to break down and eliminate odors. These sprays are much safer than incense or candles. Just make sure to keep your dog in a separate room as you use the spray. Your dog may end up inhaling some droplets and become irritated by the scent.

Wrap Up on Incense and Dogs

Incense isn’t the safest means of freshening up your home, especially if you have dogs. There are much safer alternatives for eliminating pet odors, such as air freshener sprays.

If you like using incense for health and spiritual purposes, then make sure to use pet-friendly incense sticks. Try to also keep your home well-ventilated to prevent smoke from getting trapped in the house.

These methods will help protect your dog from respiratory issues and also save their sensitive noses from inhaling anything that’ll make them feel sick or nauseous.


Featured Photo Courtesy: Pixabay



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