Is Patchouli Incense Safe For Dogs? (A Smoky Dilemma)

is Patchouli Incense safe for dogs?

The soothing scent of incense can transform a house into a serene oasis. The scent of patchouli carries a certain mystique that can entice the senses.

But as you soak in the moment, your dog might be experiencing something entirely different.

Does your dog enjoy the smell of patchouli the way you do? And more importantly, is patchouli safe for dogs?

Burning incense is best avoided at home if you have pets. Dogs have a very acute sense of smell and the fragrance can irritate their noses. Furthermore, some incense produces a lot of smoke when burned which can cause respiratory issues and distress to a dog’s delicate lungs.

In this exploration, we will dive into the intriguing world of patchouli incense, its implications for your beloved dog and how to keep your pet safe.

What Is Patchouli?

“In the olden days, patchouli was burned to mask the smell of dead bodies at funerals.”

Patchouli is a herb and is part of the mint family. This plant grows mainly in the tropical regions of Asia and is well known for its essential oil.

When it comes to the smell of patchouli incense, you will either like it or hate it.

Those who like it describe the scent as earthy, woody and complex.

Those that dislike it say it smells pungent and harsh.

In the olden days, patchouli was burned to mask the smell of dead bodies at funerals.

Is Burning Patchouli Incense Harmful to Dogs?

burning incense

Dogs possess an incredibly acute sense of smell.

In fact, a dog’s sense of smell can be up to 10,000x more sensitive than a human’s.

With a sense of smell that amazing, the strong and pungent smell of patchouli incense can ‘hit’ your dog’s nose like a ton of bricks.

When you burn incense, it releases microscopic particles into the air such as soot and smoke which can irritate your dog’s respiratory tract.

A study in 2008 has shown that burning incense generates more particulate (45mg/g) as compared to cigarette smoke (10mg/g).

This makes burning incense bad for you and your dog as it gives off 5x more dangerous particles than your average cigarette.

Symptoms Of Incense Inhalation In Dogs

Your dog’s highly sensitive respiratory system may exhibit various symptoms when it inhales incense smoke.

These symptoms could range from mild discomfort to more serious respiratory distress, depending on the amount and duration of exposure.

Here are some of the possible symptoms:

  • Coughing and choking
  • Difficulty breathing:
  • Eye irritation
  • Nasal discharge:
  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss in appetite

Some dogs might also exhibit allergic reactions to specific substances in incense.

Symptoms can range from skin irritations, itching, excessive scratching, to more severe respiratory problems like difficulty in breathing.

Can Burning Incense Be Fatal to Dogs?

“The more serious your dog’s health condition, the higher the risk of the reaction being life-threatening.”

If your dog has a pre-existing respiratory condition, such as asthma or bronchitis, the risk of it suffering from an adverse reaction will be much higher.

My cat has recently been diagnosed with feline asthma and I’ve stopped using all kinds of scented candles, essential oils and air fresheners at home.

The more serious your dog’s health condition, the higher the risk of the reaction being life-threatening.

There are some dog breeds that have congenital respiratory issues. They are known as brachycephalic breeds due to having a shorter snout.

This ‘feature’ compresses their noses deeper into their faces which makes it harder to breathe.

Dogs that fall into this category include:

  • Bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Pugs
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pekingese

How To Burn Patchouli Incense Safely At Home?

As responsible pet parents, it’s our duty to ensure we’re creating a safe environment for our cats and dogs.

Here’s how you can still enjoy your incense and keep your furry friend safe at the same time.

Use Good Quality Incense

When using your incense, make sure to get one that is of good quality for the sake of your health and your dog’s.

High quality is made from pure, organic materials. There are no artificial fragrances or fillers used.

Patchouli incenses that are synthetic or are of poor quality can contain substances that can be toxic to your dog.

Synthetic or poor quality incense burns faster and produces more smoke too.

Keep The Patchouli Incense Away From Your Dog

dog nose

The first step in ensuring your dog’s safety is to consider the placement of the incense.

Always place incense in high or out-of-reach places where your curious dog cannot access them.

Never leave burning incense unattended to prevent your dog from directly inhaling the smoke or getting burned by it.

Do Not Burn Incense With Your Dog Around

When burning incense, make sure to not do it in the same room as your dog.

This also means not doing it with your dog’s bed, toys or possessions in the same area.

Even though your dog might not be physically around, the small particles can coat your dog’s stuff.

If possible, try to create a space where you can enjoy your incense, which your dog doesn’t frequently access, like a study or personal office.

Keep The Home Well Ventilated

The room in which you burn the incense should have adequate ventilation and fresh air.

This helps to prevent the buildup of smoke and its potentially harmful effects.

Once you are done, open up all the windows in the entire house to drive out all the smoke.

Using an air purifier after you are done can help clean up the air for those at home.

Burn Less Often

“Use smokeless patchouli incense if possible.”

Consider the amount of incense you’re burning and the length of time you’re letting it burn.

Less smoke will result in fewer potential issues, so try to use incense sparingly.

If you notice your dog showing signs of discomfort, stop using the incense immediately.

Use smokeless patchouli incense if possible.

Patchouli doesn’t pose much of a risk for dogs so long as there is not a lot of smoke.

Train your Dog To Keep Away

Training your dog to maintain a safe distance from incense or areas where it’s being burned can also be helpful.

Start by using commands such as “stay away” or “no,” with the action of your dog approaching the incense or the room.

Learn to teach your dog to not enter the area until it has been well ventilated and clear of the smell.

Reward your dog for following the command to reinforce the behavior.

You can also consider using baby gates or pet barriers to physically block your dog’s access to the area where the incense is being used.

Over time, your dog should start to understand that the incense area is off-limits.

Can I Use Patchouli Candles Instead?

Using patchouli candles instead of patchouli incense can be a healthier option for your dog.

Incense is made from combustible plant-based materials that produce a lot more soot and smoke than candle wax.

However do note that although less smoke is generated, your dog might still be irritated by the heavy scent.

What Incense Smells Are Safe For Dogs?

While some incense smells might be more tolerable for your dog such as:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint

It is not just about the scent itself but also the smoke and potential toxins that the burning of incense can release into the air, which can cause respiratory irritation or harm to dogs

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