Does the Scent of a Candle Affect Pet Parrots?

Inability to find a perch is one sign of respiratory distress in parrots.
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When you light a scented candle to freshen the air in your home, you unintentionally put your bird at risk of health problems that could end in death. To keep a parrot healthy and happy, avoid scented products. Clear odors naturally by letting in fresh air.


When you burn a scented candle, the same fragrances that make your home smell yummy can make your parrot sick. Essential oils and chemical compounds create the candle scent. Although these oils burn cleanly enough for you to inhale any particle matter safely, they might not pass through birdie lungs. Parrots have very delicate respiratory systems, and fumes from these compounds can irritate them.

Other Products

Avoiding candles alone won't keep your parrot healthy. Other products that pose a birdie health risk include incense, aerosol fresheners, room deodorizing sprays, and scented cleaning products. At high temperatures, the coating on nonstick pans emits fumes that can sicken your parrot. Avoid using these products, and consider tossing your nonstick cookware and utensils. If you're not ready to give them up, ban your bird from the kitchen when cooking, and seal off the room so no fumes escape.

Signs of Sickness

A parrot who has inhaled fumes from scented candles or room refreshing products can succumb quite quickly to health problems. If your bird begins to tremble or shake, or if she can't find her footing on her perch, take her to an emergency vet for immediate attention. A fast-acting vet with equipment such as a bronchodilator might help a parrot recover.


Because manufacturers of scented products aren't required to test their products on birds, they don't do so with any regularity. Avoid using any product that poses a respiratory risk for your pet. Switch to bird-friendly cleansers such as those made from grapefruit-seed extract. If you must use scented candles or scented cleaners, take your bird to a neighbor's house until the air is clear.

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