Choose Pet-Friendly Candles

PET CHECK BLOG - Candles - Neal's Yard Remedies -

\\\ Pet-Friendly Best Candles

\\\ updated 6 October 2021

What Makes THE BEST Pet-friendly Candle?

3-Step Guide

Choosing Your New Autumn Winter And Spring Candles

Summer normally slips away with a late ‘Indian Summer’, then suddenly, a shock to the system, there’s a fresh cold morning we and wake up to the signal that Autumn has arrived.

Reach for those beautiful, glimmering, cosy candles we enjoy lighting during darker, longer evenings, as we pull our blinds down, close our curtains, earlier and earlier, as the nights draw in.

What Makes A Good Pet-Friendly Candle?

Air pollution is a problem in the UK, as it has become globally, and this means the nation have to be even more careful with what we burn, both inside our homes and outside. There’s something called the Clean Air Strategy which the government introduced, a 109-page document, helping to combat emissions, and this includes the many millions of candles that UK households burn each year, coming under the spotlight.

Briefly, the Strategy prevents not only the sale of new wood and coal burning stoves and fireplaces which do not comply with eco standards, but also warns about certain types of candles being burnt, to ensure as consumers, we know what we are buying, as some types may cause severe irritants to us and our beloved pets.

Burn Times

Burning times of candles are important. This information should be posted on the candle marketing box or candle label, providing you with an idea of how long the candle will burn. Some candles are advised only to be burnt for short periods such as two hours at a time, or others four hours, and so forth. It also provides the consumer with a guide to be able to check the cost of the weight of candles with burning times across a number of retailers, being able to identify value for money, before purchase.

Types of Candles

There’s three basic types to look out for, the container type, where wax is poured into a container, and the most popular. There’s the votive type where the candle is made in a mould and pillar candles that are free standing.

About Candle Wax

Candles haven’t much changed since Victorians time. Yes, you’ve guessed it, they were responsible for introducing ranges of candles during the early-1900’s, as the Great British Industrial Revolution was underway which included being manufactured with paraffin as the candle base, derived from petroleum. (Can also be referred to as mineral based candles). Paraffin, a by product of the oil industry, isn’t great to be inhaling in our modern, compact homes, particularly during winter time when we tend to keep our windows closed.

Paraffin is used in the majority of candle manufacturing, and generally the cheaper ranges of candles available in our shops and online stores can be traced to having paraffin as their base product in manufacturing.

The famous British brand Prices was established in 1830, using this newly discovered high melting point paraffin wax, and became the largest maker of candles in the world, with the Royal Warrant awarded by 1850, which they still retain today, supplying the Queen at British Palaces and Castles.

Candle manufacturing increased until the modern day invention of the electric light bulb, the incandescent light bulb in 1879, when modern lighting in homes, offices and factories took over. Prices and other manufacturers then had to find new candle making initiatives.

Prices have introduced a few ‘eco’ products, but like the candle making global industry as a whole, they market their products by design and fragrance geared to a price point that the consumer will pay, rather than extend the health benefits to you and your pet. That includes the famous and pricey Jo Malone candles, (currently owned by the Estée Lauder group of Companies, cosmetic company), candles which are not ‘eco’, burning just 20 hours, some at a price of around £350.00!

In recent years, small artisans have taken to lovingly hand crafting their candle making and there’s a whole army of individuals and small businesses making special, environmentally-friendly candles, setting up websites to sell online, detailling carefully the contents and their skills. They often promote candles as pet-friendly when they’ve tried and tested them in environments with their own pets and other various breeds. Larger commercial candle firms tend not to supply pet-friendly information.

Some local craft groups organise candle making classes and it’s worth trying your skills out. It’s not as easy as you may think to keep uniformity and actually something that you present to sell!

Vets have been vocal about the use of paraffin based candles as possible causes to pets suffering irritants. If pets are, then it’s very likely that some of us are too, without realising.

3 steps to choosing a pet-friendly candle

Step 1 The candle base mixture

Identify if your chosen candle is paraffin based or an eco type base.

Pet-friendly candle base ingredients should ideally be manufactured from 100% beeswax, coconut wax, rapeseed wax, sunflower seed wax, soy wax, or other natural vegetable based wax.

You’ll find the manufacturer’s producing eco type products will be most likely labelling their candles very clearly as this is a major selling point. Those who use paraffin won’t be!

Paraffin wax, create nasty toxins when burnt such as toluene, benzene, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and acrolein, nasty substances, and should be avoided. Even the top selling famous brands will try and keep this information ‘under wraps’.

Step 2 The candle wick

The type of wick used is very important.

The Clean Air Strategy (Published 14 January 2019), even discusses what wicks are the best to use and enjoy for better less polluting candles. Wicks made out of lead, for example, are to be avoided. Lead is an incredibly toxic substance, especially when vapour ingested.

Those candle wicks made of cotton, or other natural fibre such as linen, hemp, and even wood, creates a crackling noise when lit, are deemed to be the best to be burnt, for a more healthy atmosphere in your home.

Many artisan candle makers have a view that the wick is the most important feature of a great quality, slow burning, scent throwing candle. The type of wick chosen needs to throw a consistent small and safe flame, and definitely not self-extinguishing! The wick allows the candle to burn in the centre, providing a circular pool, ‘the melt pool’ and doesn’t throw up any of that awful soot whilst burning.

Again, you’ll find those making great eco-base candles will be making it very clear in their marketing what types of wicks they are using, whilst those using synthetic types like to ignore providing this information, and you may only find out when you see puffs of black smoke coming out of the wick.

Step 3 The candle fragrances

To produce the lovely smells and fragrances in a candle, natural essential oils needs to be added. Avoid buying those candles that include artificial scents and colours. Scented synthetic fragrances can cause allergy symptoms.

Candle fragrances are a very important feature to the candle company’s who need to stand out in a mega-huge and still growing UK and global candle selling market, marketing their products by wonderful descriptive fragrances that will sell their product by the lorry load.

Candle making is a huge multi-billion pound business globally, the printed packaging and the copywriting of the description and contents as important as the fragrance. Candle marketing has become as important, the packaging has to be striking, contemporary and professional, if not more so, than the product.

Pets have a better sense of smell than humans and some essential oils used may cause them distress.

Essential oils are derived from flowers, fruits, herbs and plants that we all love, the aromas such as roses and lavender, herbs such as basil and thyme, lemon and avocado the fruits, myrrh the sap like substance cut out of the tree, and many, many more essential oils, now available, produced across the globe.

Essential oils are not cheap to make, a practice that can still be seen in some parts around the world carried out by hand presses, coupled with different global growing seasons, soils and climates, make each batch of essential oils processed unique.

To provide the fragrances, the candle wax base needs to be mixed with the essential oils and this is where you can start getting differences in the strength and quality of the fragrance of a particular brand of candle, even from one batch to another, when in production.

The big candle manufacturers try to ensure there’s little variation but one often reads ‘Trustpilot’ and other consumer feedback about customers commenting on repeat purchases being ‘different’ or ‘less strong’ or ‘more strong’ in fragrance from their original purchase.

Essential Oils are a natural product and like anything completely natural can differ between batches produced.

Even though candles may be heavily marketed as with a more natural wax base, they may still burn strong essential oils, so not only is the essential oil being burned important, but also the the dilution being used.

Providing an authoritative list of what are the best essential oils in candles versus the worst is almost impossible because of the production processes and different dilutions used, the existing health of your pet, the siting of the candle, and the size of pet, dog or cat or pet rabbit.

There is one essential oil, Lavender (lavender flower, first image ) that you’ll find unanimously that vets agree is about the most safest essential oil used in candle making for a dog-friendly household, followed by roses (rose flower, second image).

Other popular essential oils used by those selling ‘dog-friendly’ candles can include, geranium, lemon, lime, mandarin, cassis (the blackcurrant berry), fig, chamomile, Frankincense, sweet orange, grapefruit, peppermint, copaiba and petitgrain, naming just a few of the hundreds available.

However, the authoritative pet charities and veterinarians consider there is NO safe essential oil when it comes to cats and small pets.

If you choose an eco wax base, a natural wick, and site your candle as far away from you pet, then this will be a real benefit to you and your pet to improve health.

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Calm, relaxed and soothing dog-friendly, pet-friendly candles

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Made for the pet market in mind – Crafted with beeswax, soy and essential oils, this lavender-and chamomile-scented candle calms with a crackling wick, whilst purifying, scenting, and settling the air sold in a re-usable glass jar, dye-free soy wax and contains no paraffin, petroleum by-products. 


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Candle Safety

It goes without saying that candle safety is foremost.

A naked flame in a home is a fire risk at all times.

There’s more than 12.5 million dogs and 12.5 million cats, 1 million pet rabbits, of which an estimated 350,000 live indoors, the last time the PMFA took count (2021), and an estimated 59% of households. That’s massive stats and not decreasing yearly.

Now that’s an awful lot of pets scuttling around our homes, let alone counting those exotic animals that are caged, and other small pets such as hamsters, pet mice and rats; all these pets could be breathing in potentially toxic vapours given off by candle burning in the home.

Candle Safety TIPS

Pet accidents do happen.

TIP ONE – SITE YOUR CANDLE AWAY, AS FAR AS POSSIBLE, FROM YOUR PET

  • Leaving candles low down on coffee tables or the floor means that pets can easily singe their fur passing by and this would cause pain and discomfort, possibly needing A&E pet surgery.
  • In a pet home, move the candle burning vessel to a safe place out of reach of your pets. This might not be your preferred site, but safety is paramount.
  • Never leave pets alone in a room with burning candles .
  • Your candle vessel must be heat resistant.
  • Do not move candles when burning.
  • Don’t place in a draught or windy position where the candle may fall over.
  • Burn candles away from any other flammable material.
  • Never place on TVs, gaming boxes, or other computer-related items.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight as they will melt causing distortion of the wick and melt.
  • Keep the wax pool free from matches, or sticks and other debris as this may cause secondary flames.
  • Abide by the manufacturer’s instructions including maximum burn times.
  • Look for candles that are certified cruelty-free and vegan friendly

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