Are Candles Bad For Birds?

It’s safe for birds to be around most candles, but it depends on the type of candle and if the bird is being supervised. A bird’s respiratory system is sensitive, so certain scents may affect their lungs. It is also important to supervise your bird when they are around open flames.

Owning a bird can be hard when you’re discovering new ways they can be harmed daily. It may have never occurred to you that something seemingly innocent like a candle could be bad for your bird.

Unfortunately, candles can be extremely harmful to birds and cause unintentional damage if you are not careful. If you’re someone who loves candles (and your bird), you’re probably looking for some guidance on this. Don’t worry, all the information you need regarding bird safety and candles is below.

Why Are Some Candles Harmful to Birds?


Birds have sensitive respiratory systems, causing them to be perceptive toward certain chemicals that are in candles.

Paraffin wax is an excellent example of a substance in candles harmful to birds. Paraffin wax is a white (or colorless) wax that produces a cloud of smoke that contains toxins such as acetone and benzene that can harm your bird when released into the air.

Zinc Alloy is another chemical in candle wicks that can damage your bird’s respiratory system.

Birds are very sensitive to metals, and zinc is a type of metal that is more commonly toxic to birds.

When birds ingest zinc after repeated exposure, it can have harmful side effects. These side effects include weight loss, feather picking, lethargy, and anemia.

When candles burn, it is commonly known to produce carbon monoxide, which can harm humans and birds.

While burning candles is relatively harmless for humans, unless you are burning large quantities in a small area that is not well ventilated, they can be detrimental to birds, especially parrots. This is because of the difference in respiratory systems. Birds need to absorb more oxygen than humans do.

If you enjoy essential oils, be mindful of which oils you use around your birds. Always consult a veterinarian before using them around your pets. Essential oils are found in many candles, and some of them are not safe to use around your birds.

Here is a list of some essential oils that are not recommended to use around your pet bird:

  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Pine
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree

If you are looking for alternative essential oils that are safe to use around your bird, try some of the following:

  • Ylang-ylang
  • Rose
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Frankincense
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Bergamot
  • Lime
  • Geranium

Open Flames

It may seem like common knowledge to not let your bird around an open flame, but it is easy to overlook something as small as a flame on a candle.

Regardless of how small you think the flame is, it can cause a lot of damage not only to your pet but also to your home. House fires can be created by your bird accidentally knocking over a burning candle and catching a flammable object on fire, such as a curtain or other fabrics.

Safety for Birds Around Candles

If you are worried about not being able to enjoy candles anymore, please know there are ways you can enjoy candles while still being able to keep your birds safe from harm’s way.

Buy Bird-Safe Candles

Many companies have come out with various candles that use ingredients safe to use around birds. Soy and beeswax are ingredients that have been proven to be safer than other candles that use synthetic fragrances and toxins.

Soy candles are made from soybeans. Not only do they produce less smoke than other candles, but they also do not produce soot that can be ingested by a bird’s respiratory system. You may want to opt for a lightly scented or unscented candle.

If you are sensitive to soy or do not prefer them, beeswax is another type of candle that is safe for use around birds.

Beeswax is a natural ionizer that helps purify the air and clear out pollutants without harsh chemicals. Not only are they safe to use around your home, but they can help rid of any harmful toxins in the air, helping your bird absorb cleaner oxygen.

Safely Store Candle Matches

Candle matches are another item that one might not be aware of when thinking about bird safety. Matches are small enough for your pet to pick up and ingest, and if they are not stored properly, they can become a severe choking hazard.

Whenever you light a candle, properly discard your matches and make sure you are storing your matches in a place your bird cannot get in.

Keep Birds Away From Open Flames

To keep your bird safe while still enjoying candles, it is best practice to keep your bird away from open flames. When lighting a candle, make sure you are keeping it separate from your pet. Keeping your bird in another room with open windows will ensure they are protected.

Your bird’s health is important, and making sure that it is kept out of danger from unsafe candles will help ensure that your bird stays safe.

Opting for candles that are made of non-toxic chemicals, like beeswax and soy, will allow your bird to be safe and allow you to enjoy the luxury of candles.

Knowing the properties of candles that can harm your bird, take a look at the candles you keep around your home and seek out any candles you find that may contain toxic ingredients. You might be surprised by how many you may find.

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