Dogs are darlings to many people. Whether it's unconditional love or just affection, there's a lot people love about dogs. However, a problem arises when it comes to dog odor. Your pup can bring an unpleasant smell to your home. That's why many dog owners opt to use incense to mask the smell. But is incense bad for dogs?

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Is Incense Bad for Dogs?

Burning incense can put your pup at risk. That's because the smoke from incense can be harmful to your canine companion. Inhaling too much of this smoke can cause respiratory problems, including bronchitis and asthma.

What is Incense?

This is a burning material that releases smoke when you burn it. Incense is made from natural materials, including tree resin, herbs, spices, and wood. Many people have also used incense as part of religious and spiritual ceremonies for a decade now.

Nowadays, many people use it at home for relaxation and stress-release purposes. When you burn incense, it can purify the air, reduce stress levels, and improve your mood. Incense can also help to cover up unpleasant smells and create a peaceful atmosphere.

Possible reasons why incense is bad for your dog:

It Can Lead to Pet Asthma

Burning incense releases chemical compounds in the air that can irritate your dog's sensitive respiratory system and lead to pet asthma. Just like humans, asthma can affect your pup as well. Although the exact cause of asthma in dogs is not clear, it's believed to be triggered by environmental factors such as dust, pollen, and smoke.

That's why it's recommended not to burn incense near your pup, as it can worsen their asthma. Some signs of asthma include wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. If you don't treat it, it can lead to dangerous fatalities. You can easily treat asthma by using traditional treatments involving inhalers or steroids to reduce inflammation and open the airways.

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Irritating Smells

The smell of incense can be overwhelming for your pup. Dogs have much more sensitive noses than humans, so the strong smell of incense can quickly irritate them and cause nausea and dizziness. Although it may not seem like a big deal, these symptoms can worsen if your pup is exposed to large amounts of burning incense.

The smoke from incense sticks also contains harmful chemicals that can cause skin irritation, inflammation, and redness. To avoid this, make sure your home is well-ventilated when burning incense. The pungent smell of incense can overwhelm your dog, leading to anxiety and stress.

Risk of Fire

Any time you have an open flame in your home, you're risking a fire hazard. When you add an open flame to a dog tail, it can be a major disaster. If your pup is running around the house, the burning incense stick can easily be knocked over or get knocked over by your pup and result in a fire.

That's why it's important to keep burning incense away from any combustible materials and your pet. Make sure you only burn incense in a well-ventilated area and never leave it unattended.

What are the Alternatives to Use Instead of Incense?

There are several alternatives you can use instead of using incense to mask the smell of your pup. Some of these popular options include:


Febreeze is a great alternative to incense for masking the smell of your pup. It is a chemical-based air freshener that can quickly deodorize and help neutralize bad odors in your home. Febreeze is also safe to use around dogs, so you don't have to worry about any potential hazards.

Febreeze also partnered with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to study the effects of their products on animals, and they found that their products were safe to use around pets.

Essential Oils

Using essential oils is also a great way to freshen up your pup's environment without the irritation of incense smoke. Essential oils can provide a light aroma, as well as other therapeutic benefits such as boosting mood, reducing stress, and improving sleep. Some of the good essential oils for your furry friend include lavender, chamomile, and lemon balm.

However, it's important to note that essential oils can be toxic if ingested by your pup, so you'll want to make sure to use them in a well-ventilated room and keep them away from your pup. With a little research and experimentation, you can find the perfect essential oil blend for your pup.

Using candles

Candles are another great option for freshening up the air without worrying about incense's potential hazards. Candles provide a pleasant scent without smoke and chemicals, making them safer for your pup. Ensure you keep them away from your pup and never leave them unattended.

Also, not all candles go well with your furry friend. Some candles contain aromas and ingredients that can be toxic to your pup. However, there are many pet-safe candles that you can use to add a pleasant smell and help improve your pup's mood, such as beeswax candles and soy candles.


Air Purifiers

Air purifiers can help filter out dust, dander, and other airborne particles that can cause irritation. In addition, they can help remove odors from the air and provide your pup with cleaner air to breathe. Air purifiers are especially great for indoor pups who don't get a lot of fresh air.

An air purifier will also act as a barrier between your pup and the pungent smell of incense smoke. Just make sure that you purchase an air purifier with a HEPA filter, which can help reduce airborne pollutants from entering your home. You also need to think about the size of your home before purchasing an air purifier.


Diffusers can create a fragrant, calming atmosphere in your pup's environment. Diffusers don't cause any respiratory irritation or smoke, making them a great option for your pup. Many diffusers are designed with essential oils in mind and have adjustable settings to create the perfect scent blend for you and your pup. Plus, some diffusers even come with a timer setting, so they can be set to run while you're away from home.

Try Homemade Scents

You can easily make homemade scents using cinnamon sticks, citrus peels, nutmeg, vanilla beans, or simmering cloves. All you need to do is put the ingredients in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. This will fill your home with a warm, inviting aroma that won't irritate your pup's lungs or eyes like incense smoke might.

No matter what scent product you choose, make sure it's pet-safe and non-toxic! With a little bit of research, you can find something that works for you and your pup. Now go enjoy the wonderful smell of your pup's environment.

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Tips for Burning Incense with Dogs in the House

Make Sure There is Proper Ventilation

If you plan to burn incense with a dog in the house, make sure there is proper ventilation. Incense smoke can be harmful to both people and animals if not properly ventilated. If you must use incense, burn it only when your pup is outside the home or in another room (with the door closed).

Use High Quality Incense

Using high quality incense is important for your pup's safety. Low-quality incense may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other harsh chemicals that can be toxic when inhaled. High-quality incense, on the other hand, typically contains natural ingredients and does not produce as much smoke as low-quality products.

Choose a Safe Spot for Placement

Dogs are very curious animals. Therefore, it's important to choose a safe spot for burning your incense. For instance, you should never leave your incense unattended and make sure it is placed in an area that your pup cannot reach. This will help keep them away from the smoke and any possible dangers associated with burning incense.

Final Thought

Burning incense with your pet friend around you may not be the best idea. However, there are plenty of other ways to create a pleasant smelling environment for your pup. Choosing pet-safe scents, diffusers, and air purifiers can help make sure everyone in your home stays safe and comfortable.

For more helpful articles about pet-parenting tips, check out the Off Leash blog at

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