Are Candles Bad for Bearded Dragons

Are Candles Bad for Bearded Dragons?

Yes, it is not recommended to burn candles or use air fresheners around bearded dragons or other reptiles. Reptiles are extremely sensitive to smell and fumes, and inhalation of soot or smoke from candles and incense can damage their fragile respiratory systems

Inhalation of soot or smoke from candles and incense can damage fragile reptile respiratory systems and even soy and wax candles are not recommended as air fresheners for reptiles. Burning incense or scented candles in the same room as a bearded dragon is not recommended, as it can harm them.

In this article, we will discuss the dangers of candles for bearded dragons in more detail, as well as some alternatives to using candles in your home. We will also discuss what precautions you should take if you choose to use candles around your bearded dragon.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of why candles are bad for bearded dragons and how to keep your pet safe when using candles.

What Are the Risks of Using Candles Around Bearded Dragons?
Credit: Stephiny Delamare

The use of candles around bearded dragons can pose a number of risks, namely Fire Risk, Carbon Dioxide, and Soot Residue. Fire Risk is an obvious danger, as a flame can quickly start a fire if left unattended.

Carbon Dioxide can accumulate in the environment, leading to potentially dangerous levels which could cause health issues for the dragon. Finally, Soot Residue from burning candles can settle on the dragon’s skin and scales, causing irritation.

Fire Risk

Moving on from the discussion of the dangers of candles near bearded dragons, the next section will cover the risks of using candles around bearded dragons. Fire risk is a major concern when it comes to using candles near bearded dragons, especially when they are left unattended.

The risk of fire increases when the candles are placed near combustible materials, such as:

  • Furniture
  • Decorations
  • Towels
  • Curtains
  • Carpeting

Any combination of these materials and a candle can create a serious fire hazard. Not only could the bearded dragon be injured, but the entire house could be at risk for destruction.

It is always important to make sure candles are in a safe location, away from any combustible materials, and that they are tended to while lit. Even if the candles are attended to, they should never be left burning overnight as the risk of fire increases significantly.

Carbon Dioxide

Continuing on from the previous section, the next risk to consider when using candles around bearded dragons is their exposure to carbon dioxide. Even though the risk of fire may be reduced when using LED candles, the release of carbon dioxide is still a cause of concern.

Carbon dioxide is an odorless and colorless gas that can be toxic to humans and animals, and bearded dragons are no exception.

  • Direct exposure to carbon dioxide can cause:
    • Lethargy
    • Respiratory distress
    • Loss of appetite
  • Prolonged exposure to carbon dioxide can lead to:
    • Brain damage
    • Organ failure
    • Death
  • It is important to check for signs of carbon dioxide poisoning in bearded dragons, such as:
    • Lethargy
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Loss of appetite

It is important to be mindful of the amount of carbon dioxide present when using candles around bearded dragons.

To minimize the risk, it is best to keep candles away from the enclosure and regularly check for signs of carbon dioxide poisoning. By following these guidelines, you can reduce the risks of using candles around bearded dragons.

Soot Residue

Having discussed the fire risk and the dangers of increased carbon dioxide around bearded dragons, the final risk to consider when using candles around these creatures is the soot residue that results from burning a candle.

Although this residue is not immediately dangerous, it can cause long-term health problems for bearded dragons if not properly monitored and managed.

  • Soot residue may accumulate in the air or on the dragon’s skin, leading to respiratory irritation and skin irritation.
    • Inhalation of soot residue can cause inflammation of the lungs.
    • Exposure to soot residue can cause chronic skin irritation.
  • Soot residue can also accumulate inside the enclosure, leading to the accumulation of toxins.
    • When soot residue accumulates on surfaces, it can release toxins into the air.
    • These toxins can be ingested by the bearded dragon, leading to further health problems.

It is important to keep an eye on the levels of soot residue when using candles around bearded dragons. If the levels become too high, it is suggested to open the windows or move the bearded dragon to a different room until the air is cleared.

What Are Some Safe Alternatives to Candles for Scenting a Room?

‘Lizzy’ Bearded Dragon
Credit: Tom Brown

For those looking for a safe alternative to candles for scenting a room, reed diffusers, air fresheners, and wax melts are all popular options. Reed diffusers are a stylish way to scent a room, air fresheners often offer an array of fragrances, and wax melts are an easy and efficient way to scent a room.

Reed Diffusers

An alternative to candles when scenting a room are reed diffusers. These are a safe way to produce a pleasant aroma without the risk of a flame. A reed diffuser consists of a bottle or vase filled with scented oil, and thin reeds that absorb the oil and release the fragrance.

Reed diffusers come in a variety of scents and can be used to infuse a room with a pleasant aroma for several months. Here are some of the benefits of using reed diffusers:

  • Low Maintenance: One of the advantages of reed diffusers is that they are low maintenance. All that is required is to periodically flip the reeds or add more oil to the vase when the scent begins to fade.
  • Safe: Reed diffusers are safe to use around bearded dragons. The fragrance is slowly released and is not as potent as candle wax, making it a safer alternative.
    • A flame is not needed so there is no risk of a fire hazard.
    • The fragrance is not as strong as a candle, making it safer for the bearded dragon.
  • Long-Lasting: Reed diffusers can last up to several months and will gradually release the scent into the air. This eliminates the need to buy candles on a regular basis and can save money in the long run.

Overall, reed diffusers provide a pleasant and safe way to scent a room without the need for an open flame. They are easy to use and can last several months, providing an economical option for scenting a room.

Air Fresheners

Having discussed the potential risks of using candles around bearded dragons, let’s now look at some safer alternatives for scenting a room. Air fresheners are a great choice for aromatizing your home without adding any risk to your pet.

Air fresheners come in a variety of forms, such as:

  • Sprays
    • Aerosol sprays
    • Non-aerosol sprays
  • Plug-ins
  • Gels

With so many choices, it can be overwhelming to find the right air freshener for your home. Sprays are the quickest and easiest way to scent a room, while plug-ins and gels can provide a longer-lasting scent.

However, it is important to read the label before purchasing any air freshener. Some products contain chemicals that can be harmful to both you and your pet. Additionally, avoid using multiple air fresheners in the same space, as the combined scents can create an overpowering smell.

Wax Melts

Having discussed the risks of using candles around bearded dragons, it is important to consider safe alternatives for scenting a room. One of these alternatives is wax melts, which contain a fragrant scent and are heated to release the aroma into the air.

Wax melts come in a variety of styles and scents, making them an enjoyable and unique scenting option.

Unlike candles, wax melts are safer to use around bearded dragons as they do not contain open flames or burning wax. Wax melts provide a subtle and pleasant scent that can be used to scent a room without risking the safety of the bearded dragon. The following are some of the benefits of wax melts:

  • Easy to use. Wax melts are simple and easy to use. To release the scent, simply place a wax melt in a wax warmer, turn on the warmer, and wait for the scent to fill the room.
  • Long-lasting scent. Wax melts can last up to several weeks, depending on the scent and the warmer used. This makes wax melts a great option for scenting a room without needing to constantly reapply.
  • Variety of scents. Wax melts come in a variety of styles and scents, including fresh, floral, fruity, and woody. This allows for a wide range of scents that can be used to customize and personalize a room.

In addition, wax melts come in different shapes and sizes, which can be used to create unique aesthetic displays that add personality to a room. Wax melts are also relatively affordable, making them a great option for those looking to scent their room on a budget.

How Can You Tell if a Bearded Dragon Is Being Affected by Candle Smoke?

When assessing whether a bearded dragon has been impacted by candle smoke, it is important to look for signs of respiratory distress, such as difficulty breathing, increased respiration rate, and open-mouthed breathing.

Additionally, exposure to smoke can have an impact on eyesight, such as clouding of the eyes, excessive tearing, and a runny nose. Finally, skin irritation due to smoke inhalation may cause the dragon to scratch or rub their eyes.

Signs of Respiratory Distress

Having discussed the safe alternatives to candles for scenting a room, it is important to understand the consequences of using candles around a bearded dragon, specifically in regard to its respiratory system.

Signs of respiratory distress can be quite apparent and can be divided into three categories: sounds, breathing rate, and abnormal behaviors.

  • Sounds
    • Wheezing or hissing noises
    • Gasps of air
    • Gurgling
  • Breathing rate
    • Rapid, shallow breaths
    • Excessive panting
    • Labored breathing
  • Abnormal behaviors
    • Lethargy
    • Inability to move
    • Loss of appetite

If a bearded dragon exhibits any of these symptoms, it is important to remove them from the area where the candle was burning, as well as any other source of smoke. Seek veterinary advice and provide the bearded dragon with the necessary treatment to prevent any further distress.

Impact on Eyesight

Now that we’ve discussed safe alternatives to candles for scenting a room, let’s consider the effects of candle smoke on a bearded dragon. In particular, we’ll focus on the impact on eyesight.

Bearded dragons, much like humans, are sensitive to smoke and other airborne particles. When exposed to smoke, they may suffer from eye irritation and, in extreme cases, respiratory distress. Below are two key indicators of smoke-related eye issues:

  • Redness and Discharge: Smoke can cause inflammation of the eyes, resulting in redness, discharge, and swelling.
  • Loss of Appetite: When a bearded dragon’s eyes are irritated, they may become uncomfortable eating. This can lead to a decrease in appetite and, if left untreated, can result in serious health issues.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is crucial to remove the source of the smoke and provide your pet with medical attention. Eye drops, antibiotics, and other treatments may be recommended to help your bearded dragon recover.

Skin Irritation

Moving on from the safe alternatives to candles for scenting a room, we’ll look into how a bearded dragon’s health is affected when exposed to candle smoke. One of the most common signs of distress is skin irritation.

Bearded dragons are very sensitive to environmental changes, and this includes the air quality in the room. If the air contains smoke, their skin may become itchy and red. Generally, the irritation is first seen on the neck and head but can spread to the rest of their body, if the exposure is prolonged.

It is important to look out for these signs and take appropriate action if you suspect your pet’s skin is irritated. Here are a few signs that may indicate irritation:

  • Excessive scratching, licking, or biting at the skin
  • Dryness or flakiness of the skin
  • Redness or discoloration of the skin
  • Shedding of the skin:
    • Premature shedding
    • Excessive shedding in areas of the body where the smoke is concentrated

It’s important to take action quickly if these signs are apparent, as prolonged exposure to smoke can lead to further complications that can be difficult to treat. If your bearded dragon is exhibiting any of the signs listed above, you should consider discontinuing the use of candles and other scented products.


In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with using candles around bearded dragons. Although candles can provide a pleasant scent to a room, the smoke generated by the burning of the candle wax can have an adverse effect on the health of the dragon if exposed to it for too long.

As such, it is best to use alternatives that are safe for bearded dragons, such as scent diffusers or wax warmers.

By choosing these options, you can enjoy the scents of candles without having to worry about the potential negative effects on your bearded dragon. Be mindful and take precautions when using candles to ensure the safety of your beloved pet.