Candles are a great way to relax and mask unpleasant odors. However, pet owners should take a few precautions to protect their furry friends from open flames and potentially toxic substances.
Ferret owners know about the importance of creating a safe environment, which includes being careful with candles.
You should know that most candles aren’t safe for ferrets. They contain toxins that your pets could inhale, and exposure to heat and open flames are potential hazards for these animals that love to play and explore.
Most store-bought candles contain chemical ingredients that are harmful to ferrets. These ingredients include:
- Paraffin. Most candles use a petroleum-based wax known as paraffin. As it burns, paraffin releases carcinogens in the air. While carcinogen levels remain low and safe for humans, pets like ferrets are more sensitive due to their smaller lung capacity. Paraffin can cause irritation, respiratory issues, and even heart health problems.
- Alcohol. Some candles use alcohol-based perfumes. Burning a candle could cause your ferrets to ingest alcohol, a dangerous substance that can cause lethargy, disorientation, and even alcohol poisoning.
- Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical compound that is naturally present in the air we breathe. However, levels can build up and become toxic if you burn candles in a poorly ventilated room or smoke cigarettes.
- Limonene. Limonene is a terpene present in the rind of citrus fruits. It’s safe in small quantities, but it’s an ingredient used in pesticides and toxic to ferrets if levels build up.
- Esters. Esters are a family of chemical compounds that can create carbon monoxide or sulfur oxides when they burn. These gases are dangerous and can cause poisoning.
Are candles bad for ferrets? Besides containing toxic ingredients, candles are dangerous for other reasons if you have ferrets.
While new smells can bother some pets, ferrets are curious by nature and will likely want to investigate the source of the new smell they’re detecting. The open flame of the candle could burn your ferret or, at the very least, singe their whiskers.
Candles can also be dangerous when they’re not burning. With enticing smells that mimic fruits or your favorite dessert, your ferret might be tempted to take a bite.
Animals can’t digest wax. Depending on how much your ferret eats, they could experience gastrointestinal upset or even intestinal blockage.
It depends on the ingredients used. However, you should know that most candles sold contain ingredients that are toxic to ferrets and other pets.
You can find candles advertised as safe for pets, but you should still check the ingredients carefully.
If you have ferrets at home, you should opt for soy wax candles that use cotton wicks. Soy wax uses the oil of soybeans and is a safer alternative to paraffin. However, these candles can still contain dyes and perfumes that are harmful to pets. Look for labels that say no paraffin, no paraben, no dyes, and no formaldehyde.
You should avoid candles that use artificial scents since they will emit chemicals as they burn. Some candles use essential oils for a cleaner alternative, but not all essential oils are safe for ferrets.
Tea tree oil, rose, cinnamon, and peppermint are toxic to ferrets. However, essential oils like lavender, frankincense, cedarwood, or geranium are ferret-friendly options.
You should check the ingredients carefully and avoid any candle that contains chemicals. There are other precautions you should take to make candles safe for your ferrets:
- Only light candles in well-ventilated rooms.
- Place the candles on a shelf the ferrets can’t reach.
- Invest in a candle holder with a cage or structure that will protect the open flame.
- Choose candles with a wide base so they won’t tip over if a curious ferret decides to investigate.
- Don’t let candles burn when you’re away or unable to supervise your pets.
- Avoid burning candles for long periods.
- Keep an eye on your ferrets and look for signs of stress or discomfort.
The best scented candles for ferrets should contain natural ingredients, like soy wax, cotton wicks, and essential oils like lavender or cedarwood.
There are a few alternatives to consider:
- Essential oil diffusers and reed diffusers can be safe if you use them in moderation. However, they can cause phenols to build up in your ferret’s system, which can result in liver and kidney problems.
- Incense is an excellent way to mask unpleasant smells, but it creates smoke when it burns. Incense is not a good alternative since the smoke will irritate your ferret’s airways.
- Aerosol sprays can cause asthma, coughing, and irritation. However, you can spray a room, open a window, and wait a few minutes before letting your ferrets back in.
- The best alternative to burning candles is using LED candles. You won’t get a pleasant scent, but it’s a safe alternative that won’t diffuse any chemicals in the air.
If you want to use scented candles to cover the strong smell that ferrets sometimes have, your best bet is to use vinegar and baking soda to clean and eliminate odors. Bathing your ferrets once in a while can also help, and the smell won’t be as strong if you keep their cage clean.
Are candles bad for ferrets? The answer is yes. Candles contain chemical compounds that are toxic to pets. However, you can burn candles that have natural ingredients for short periods or use LED candles as an alternative.