Are Candles Bad for Hamsters and Other Pets?

Hamsters make amazing pets, especially for children. They are solitary in nature and can be easily taken care of. However, as with all pets, they do require you to handle them with care and know everything you can do about them.

Are Candles Bad for Hamsters and Other Pets?

One particular problem many have is whether they can have scented candles when they have a hamster in the room. So if you are wondering whether you can do it, then the short answer to that question is NO, you shouldn’t.

Candles can be very bad for hamsters as they have a sensitive respiratory system. Too much exposure to a scented candle can cause sneezing, shallow breath, and even red discharge from their eyes or nose. Hamsters tend to eat natural wax in the wild, however, candle wax can be very toxic and will harm a hamster if he eats it.

We will take a deeper dive into all of the reasons why candle smoke and wax is bad for a hampster. We will also look at a few ways to tell if your hampster has any noticable side affects of consuming toxic candle wax.

Is the Scent from a Candle Harmful to Hamsters?

Scented candles and oils create a pleasant and relaxing experience for everyone but just because they are safe for humans doesn’t necessarily make them the same for pets too.

Animals have more heightened senses than us and therefore something insignificant for us can be devastating for them. Rodents, in particular, have very sensitive respiratory systems too due to which scented candles can be very dangerous for them.

Does this mean that candles can kill your hamster? Yes, if the candles are lit fairly regularly and are close to them. If you keep them far away in a well-ventilated room, it would be ok though but if you ever see your hamster in distress, stop the candle and immediately move your hamster to a room where there is fresh air.

Some of the symptoms you might see in hamsters in respiratory distress are sneezing, shallow breathing as well as red discharge coming from their eyes or nose.

Is it Safe if Hamsters Eat Candle Wax?

So now we know that the smoke from candles can be dangerous for these furry critters. But is it only the smoke that can be dangerous for the hamster?

Unfortunately no. Hamsters also seem to have a taste for candlewax and so even if you put an unlit candle near them, you might be putting them in danger.

It is important to note that not all types of candlewax are dangerous as hamsters are known to eat wax in the wild.

Safe Wax vs Harmful Wax for Hamsters

Let’s take a look at which waxes hamsters can safely eat and which ones will be harmful to them:

  • Paraffin Wax – Paraffin wax candles are known to create toxic fumes and therefore are very dangerous for hamsters.
  • Gel Wax – Gel wax isn’t composed of natural wax and so if a hamster eats too much of it, it could end up getting very sick or worse.
  • Soy Wax – As soy wax is made from soybeans, your hamster can eat it safely but it isn’t recommended that you feed it purposely as it may have side effects.
  • Palm Wax – While palm wax is safe for a hamster to consume, it does result in damaging the environment. So feeding it to your hamster wouldn’t be a good idea.
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The only truly safe wax for a hamster to consume is the natural one. When it comes to candles, however, there is always a big risk as some manufacturers may mix harmful ingredients in them. So in general, make sure your hamster isn’t able to eat any of the candle wax.

Why Do Hamsters Love Natural Wax?

There are two reasons why hamsters seem to love eating candlewax and they are:

  1. Candlewax is loaded with calories. Since hamsters eat natural wax in the wild to sustain more energy, they will always take a liking to candlewax.
  2. Hamsters are known for their fondness for eating. They usually end up eating almost anything you place in front of them and candles are no exception.

Therefore, if you do feed wax to your hamster, make sure it is pure and fully natural. They may eat any candle you may place in front of them but that doesn’t mean that it is good for them.

Moreover, while candlewax has calories, it doesn’t have any nutrients. So when the hamster may love eating it, it may also cause several deficiencies that may threaten its life over the long term.

How to Know If Your Hamster Ate Toxic Candlewax?

Several symptoms can point to whether your hamster may have eaten toxic candlewax or not. Some of them are:

  • Laziness – If your hamster all of a sudden became more lazy or lethargic, there is a good chance that it ate bad candlewax.
  • Weight Loss – Sudden weight loss is another symptom that your furry little pet may have eaten some toxic wax.
  • Loss of Fur – If you see that your hamster is shedding its fur more than the usual amount, you might want to take it to a vet.
  • Loss of appetite – Not eating or drinking like it used to be also a sign that it may have eaten harmful candlewax.

There are a few things you can do to confirm your assumptions and to help them gain their health back. The first thing you need to do is check their excrement and the color of their urine.

Hamsters normally have white-colored urine and so if you see any other color, the little critter is suffering from some ailment. If the hamster has runny feces or if it’s a different color, contact your vet as soon as possible.

In the meantime, always make sure that your hamster has sufficient clean drinking water at all times. Water helps to flush away the deadly toxins and makes them feel a bit better. However, it won’t be enough to cure any ailments fully so do make sure you take your hamster to the vet.


Though scented candles and oils are harmless for us, the same cannot be said for your pets. Hamsters especially are prone to respiratory issues when they breathe in artificial or chemical smoke. Even if the candles claim to be all-natural, it is not worth the risk to light them up or keep them near your hamsters.

You don’t have to get rid of all the candles in your house though. Just make sure that they are placed in a different room and that the hamster is always in a well-ventilated room.

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