My Dog Ate A Citronella Candle

My Dog Ate A Citronella Candle

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

When your dog eats a citronella candle, the danger of eating the wax in the candle is greater than the danger of eating the citronella. In fact, the best citronella candles on the market only contain about five percent citronella. The candle wax accounts for approximately 93% of the candle’s weight, while the candlewick accounts for 2%. Your dog won’t suffer any serious harm from the citronella content alone, but the candle may. In addition, it depends on how well-chewed the candle was before your dog ate it.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “My Dog Ate A Citronella Candle“.

A summer evening isnot complete without the scent of one of these candles as you sit out on your patio or deck.

My Dog Ate A Citronella Candle

And to know that the candles may also help to protect you from those nasty flying and biting insects is an added bonus.

You do not realize that your dog loves candles as well. 

Maybe hes a little too keen on them- since he seems to be eating them for some weird reason?

Consequently this article is for all citronella lovers and worried dog owners who may be thinking “Help!” “My dog just ate my citronella candle.”

1. What is citronella?

From lemongrass leaves and stems citronella oil is extracted.  

In addition it is widely used in candles soaps and perfumes.

Citronella oil has a very pleasant smell in addition to being a bit of a “super substance.”

In addition to adding a wonderful scent to candles and soaps it is recognized as a natural insecticide and has antifungal properties. 

There is evidence that essential oils such as citronella have been used for thousands of years to repel insects. 

In fact it has been approved for use in foods. 

2. Is it toxic for dogs? 

Citronella can be very toxic to dogs just as it can be for humans.

Due to the fact that citronella is a very powerful essential oil.

It must be heavily diluted if it is used as a spray skin cream or oil.

Citronella oil applied neat to the skin may cause a burning sensation and nasty skin irritation.

It is possible to experience stinging and watering eyes and difficulty breathing if citronella essential oil is inhaled. 

Dogs and people both react in the same way.  

3. Are citronella candles toxic for dogs? 

Because so little of the candles content contains citronella oil a citronella candle is less toxic for your dog than citronella oil. 

Citronella candles based on this article may contain no more than 5% citronella oil. 

We should therefore be sensible about this.

Your dog could easily develop breathing problems if you are burning a citronella candle in an unventilated room where your dog is also present.

The candle poses a much smaller threat to your dog if it is being used outside on the patio (which is where most of these candles are used). 

4. What to do if your dog eats a citronella candle?

When your dog eats a citronella candle the danger of eating the wax in the candle is greater than the danger of eating the citronella.

In fact the best citronella candles on the market only contain about five percent citronella.

The candle wax accounts for approximately 93% of the candles weight while the candlewick accounts for 2%.

Your dog would not suffer any serious harm from the citronella content alone but the candle may. 

In addition it depends on how well-chewed the candle was before your dog ate it.

Any candle a dog eats can end up getting stuck somewhere in its journey through your dogs body.

If your dog ate the candle without chewing the candle could get stuck in its throat or further down in the intestines. 

When the candle gets stuck in your dogs throat you should watch out for coughing and retching.

If your dog does not vomit out bits of candles within a few minutes call your vets office and request an emergency appointment. 

The symptoms are slower to appear but include lethargy vomiting and diarrhea if the candle becomes stuck in the intestines.

Most candles (or bits of candles) are soft enough to pass through a dogs system without causing any long-term harm.

In the coming days your dog will pass the candle in its poop since it will not have been digested. 

The dog might experience some sort of skin reaction or irritation as a result of this

5. Are citronella plants toxic for dogs?

Citronella plants could pose a greater threat to your dog than a citronella candle.

There are various types of lemon grasses that produce citronella oil.

In the UK and the US I’m not sure that these plants are that widespread.

Citronella with its intense citrus aroma and insect repelling properties is so appealing that it has been “engineered” into other plants.

Citronella geraniums are popular plants among these species.

It is often placed on patios to provide a pleasant aroma and to keep away insects.

What should be done to stop a dog from chewing the plants leaves?

A dog will happily chomp on some grass after all.

There is a possibility that your dog may get a reaction to merely brushing past the plant.  

Some of the symptoms of citronella poisoning have been mentioned in passing but they havenot been discussed much. 

Lets get started now. 

6. What are the signs of citronella poisoning? 

Here are the symptoms to watch out for if your dog becomes poisoned by citronella.

It is possible to have breathing difficulties if you breathe in too much of the scent. 

Pay attention to any gasping coughing or reverse sneezing sounds. Fortunately these symptoms are quite obvious. Unfortunately they are extremely frightening to see.

It is very important to respond to them very quickly. 

Call your vet and ask for an emergency appointment if they do not stop within a few minutes. 

Citronella can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea if consumed.

There is a possibility that vomiting occurs soon after ingestion or it may take up to two hours.

You’ll notice diarrhea after a few hours- lucky you!

7. How else is citronella used with dogs.

In my attempt to make this point clear it is important for your dog to stay away from citronella. A quick Google search revealed that citronella is used as a deterrent with dogs.

Anti-barking spray collars are the first way in which it is used.

Dogs that are “naughty” wear these collars.

Upon barking a nozzle within the collar sprays a dog in the face.

In the first place I oppose the use of these devices but using citronella collars in conjunction with something as potentially harmful as citronella is disgraceful. 

As an alternative to collars a spray gun may be used to administer citronella to dogs.

Every time the dog does something wrong they are sprayed with the spray gun by the owner. 

Water is surely all you need if you are going to use such negative training tactics?

Another way that citronella is used with dogs is as an anti-peeing and anti-pooping deterrent.

Citronella can be sprayed on carpets inside the house or on the grass in a no-go area of the garden.

In this example it is used as a deterrent better than in the previous examples since the risk of your dog or dog eating grass that has watered down citronella sprayed on it is low.


I would not panic if you think that your dog has just eaten a citronella candle.

Most likely your dog will be fine and the real danger will be the size of the candle and the amount of wax that your dog ate.

Its unlikely that citronella oil in your candle will cause your dog any real harm other than an upset stomach.

Keep a close eye on your dog and if it seems out of sorts in any way keep the number of your veterinarian at hand.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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