Is Your Hamster at Risk from Candles in the House?

Last updated on January 28th, 2023 at 06:20 pm

We all have candles in our homes that we occasionally use for multiple purposes, to beautify the home or as aromatic candles.

But you must be wondering how our hamsters react to candles and whether it is okay if we light a candle in the room where we keep our pet.

Are candles harmful to hamsters?

Yes, candles are harmful to hamsters because they release harmful substances such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the air.

Hamsters and their lungs have problems if they inhale chemicals, smoke, and similar toxins, and they may have trouble breathing and get red and watery eyes.

That’s why it’s best not to put candles in the same room where you keep a hamster, it’s a prevention of problem with his lungs.

Only coconut and soy wax candles are a safer option than other types of waxes used for burning candles.

If you do light candles in the hamster’s room, then do not let your pet run around the room, as he may knock them over and start a fire.

In today’s article, you will learn why candles are dangerous for hamsters and whether there are candles that do not endanger their health.

Are candles harmful to hamsters?

Yes, candles are harmful to hamsters mostly because they emit volatile organic compounds and make it difficult for our pets to breathe.

Because of their size, hamsters do not have large lungs, so it takes very little harmful air to cause respiratory problems.

Candles release smoke, chemicals, and soot that hamsters’ lungs will not be able to tolerate.

If hamsters inhale these ingredients, it will be toxic and dangerous to their health, especially if they inhale larger amounts.

So let’s read together how all these ingredients affect the health of hamsters.

Chemicals from candles

Hamsters’ lungs are very delicate and they react immediately to the release of chemicals from the candles.

Hamsters get the most problems from scented candles, which smell nice to us humans, unfortunately, they are too harmful to hamsters.

Here are the volatile ingredients in the candles and how the hamster reacts to their action:

  • Toluene – causes seizures and hallucinations, as a reaction to its effect on the brain.
  • Benzene – causes muscle contractions and cognitive slowing, and heart rate problems and irregularities.
  • Acetone – causes headaches, nausea, and changes in hormones, all as a result of irritation of the lungs, eyes, throat, and nose.

Candle smells are harmful to hamsters

Hamsters as a substitute for poor eyesight have a very good sense of smell, which is why the scents of candles are too strong for them and our pets cannot stand them.

For us humans, scented candles are good for relaxation and mood improvement, but this is not the case for hamsters.

Hamsters have the opposite reaction to smells and can only get stressed and upset.

Smoke and soot are harmful to hamsters

When we burn a candle it releases carbon dioxide or smoke which is harmful to hamsters. Soot is particles that are created while burning candles and it is an additional problem for the health of our pets.

The best option for candles to produce less smoke and soot is to cut the wick. The shorter the wick, the faster it will make contact with the wax and produce a flame, and there will be less smoke and soot.

There are several types of candle wicks:

  • cotton wicks: these wicks are the best choice of candles to use in your home with the least harmful effect on hamsters. The advantage of cotton wicks is that they release less carbon dioxide. Cotton wicks are dipped in the wax that allows the candle to burn steadily.
  • Zinc wicks: they are mostly used for small candles, while when they are in a larger candle then they make more smoke and soot. Zinc wicks are solid and burn quite cool, but they are still not the best for the health of hamsters.
  • Paper wicks – these wicks burn hot and bright, but make a lot of smoke if not cut regularly. Paper wicks are quite demanding as they stand upright while the wax melts, but they are also not the best choice for a hamster room.

The characteristics of all candles are that when there is more airflow, they create more smoke and soot, so the less draft there is, the less smoke there will be for hamsters.

Are some candles safe for hamsters?

There are different types of candles made of different materials and some are more and some less harmful to hamsters.

That’s why it will be helpful to learn more about them when we buy candles, which will allow us to choose from those that can least harm the health of our little friends.

A soy candle

The advantage of soy candles is that soy wax is a better option than paraffin wax, although some companies use paraffin wax as a filler.

A soy candle releases less Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) than a paraffin wax candle. When you use a soy candle it will produce less smoke and soot than a pure paraffin wax candle.

The only problem with burning these candles is that they can often go out, but luckily they have no smell, which is good for hamsters.

Paraffin wax candles

Pure paraffin wax candles are the most harmful to hamsters as they release the most VOCs into the air in the room where they are used.

When buying candles, you should know that candles with pure paraffin wax are the most profitable, but also the most harmful for hamsters.

The cleaner the wax for burning the candle, the more harmful ingredients are released that negatively affect your pet.

People do not have any particular problems from such candles, but therefore our little furry friends will certainly have health problems.

Coconut wax candles

Coconut wax candles are very safe for hamsters as they emit almost no smoke and soot, especially when used with a cotton wick.

Coconut wax is made from coconut, burns very well, and has no smell which is another positive thing for the health of hamsters.

The only problem is the price, which is much more expensive than other candles.

Beeswax candles

Candles that use beeswax are also very safe for hamsters because they do not emit harmful ingredients, and the smoke and soot are very small.

Beeswax is very strong and allows the candles to burn longer.

Beeswax releases negative ions that are the exact opposite of the positive ions from VOCs and helps reduce bad ingredients in the air.

Palm wax candles

Palm oil is used to make palm wax, and most importantly, this wax is a natural product without artificial ingredients.

This candle wax is ideal for hamsters as it does not release VOCs and has no harmful effects on your pet’s health.

The only drawback is that it cannot maintain the same burning consistency as other waxes.

However, if you need to light a candle, using such candles with palm wax is a safe option for your pet.

Can my hamster eat candle wax?

Depending on the type of wax, some are safe for your pet to eat, while others are harmful and dangerous. When the wax releases harmful ingredients, it is harmful to your pet to eat.

Therefore, let’s see which waxes hamsters can and cannot eat.

Hamsters can eat:

  • soy wax
  • palm wax

Hamsters cannot eat:

  • paraffin wax
  • gel wax

Hamsters like to eat wax because it has calories that, especially when they are in the wild, help them to last longer without food.

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What else can be used as an alternative to candles?

If you want to protect your hamster from harmful ingredients that are released from candles, you can also buy battery-powered candles that are 100% safe for the health of hamsters.

Apart from candles, you can also use lanterns, which you can place in various places around your home and are a safe option for your pet.

Read more: Are Ants Harmful To Hamsters? (Find Out Now)


Hamsters should not be exposed to several types of candles, specifically all that release harmful VOC compounds that are not good for their health and respiratory organs.

Hamsters can only be exposed to candles made from soy and coconut wax, as they release the least amount of ingredients.

If you want to protect your hamster from harmful chemicals in candles, you can also use alternative options such as battery-powered candles.

Finally, if you must use wax candles, do your best to protect your pets as much as the conditions in your home allow.

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