Skip to Content

Is Burning Sage Safe for Dogs, Cats, Birds & Other Animals?

If you don’t know already, sage is an herb that possesses a naturally smoky flavor with minty hints. Surely, you know how sage has been used in dishes and delicacies for eons.

It’s perfectly safe to go with food but what’s so bad when it is burnt? Burning sage is a completely different story if you have pets at home.

Is burning sage safe for dogs?

Burning sage produces smoke that is certainly not safe for dogs at all. The smoke produced from burning sage can seriously irritate a dog’s lungs and in some cases, cause issues like asthma or other respiratory problems. It can also mean harm to a dog’s ears, and smell passage.

Now you would have to remember that burning sage may be harmful to your dog but you can sure add sage, the herb, to your dog’s food. It has been proven to be beneficial in more than one way.

As some burning sage for a ritual, it is best to either send your dog away or have a completely open and well-ventilated room when you can burn sage. That way your dog would be safer.

If you add it to your dog’s food, sage can help with allergies, indigestion, and even other inflammations as it can have anti-bacterial properties.

What does burning sage do to dogs?

Burning sage can do the following to your dog –

Irritation for dog’s lungs:

The smoke from the sage will irritate the respiratory system of a dog and harm its lungs. If your dog has a history of respiratory issues, burning sage might trigger it to a worse situation.

Harmful for ears and nose:

the smoke from burning sage can block the area in a dog’s earhole.

This can eventually make the dog suffer from serious and painful ear infection issues. Other than that, smoke from burning sage is also known to affect the smell sense of dogs negatively.

Is burning sage safe for cats?

Burning sage is not completely safe for cats because it can cause them to have allergy-like symptoms. Other than sneezing, itchy and irritated eyes, smoke from smudging white sage can sometimes also make a cat suffer mild to serious respiratory problems.

You can still burn sage while having a cat around only if the room is airy and open enough. If there are windows, then the smoke has a vent to escape as soon as it is produced, the cat would not be as affected by the smoke.

Is sage burning dangerous in front of cats?

While it is not right to say that burning sage is dangerous in front of cats, we should mention that is not completely safe either. If you burn sage in a well-ventilated and open space, even if your cat is around, your cat might only have slight irritations.

What does burning sage do to cats?

Burning sage can do the following to your cat –

Irritation to the eyes and nose:

Since cats have smaller eyes and nose compared to a dog and do not have extremely sensitives senses like dogs, the effect is much less in cats.

However, you would notice that your cat is disturbed with watery eyes and might get an itchy nose. Sometimes, burning sage can also trigger the kitty to sneeze constantly.

Respiratory issues:

Although rare, if your cat already suffers from lung issues like bronchitis, burning sage can make them quite sick. Too much smoke from smudging sage can result in other breathing issues for a cat.

Is burning sage safe for birds?

Burning sage can be dangerous for birds as they do not have the same kind of respiratory system as humans. Also, birds are most vulnerable to being harmed by smoke coming from burning sage. As they do not have lungs, the smoke does not get filtered. Hence this causes serious breathing issues.

We already know that smoke can be harmful to animals. Unlike cats and dogs who are mildly affected by burning sage, smoke from the activity can result in a bird stop breathing as well.

This is because birds do not have lungs that can help filter out the air which is filled with smoke. The insides of a bird and its air sacs can get enveloped by the smoke, created a coat. This means that the free passage of a bird is completely disrupted.

Having mentioned that, you may want to completely avoid burning sage or producing any kind of smoke in front of birds even if you have a well-ventilated space.

Can you sage with birds?

According to vets and experts, you cannot burn sage in front of birds in any way. Not just sage smudging, any smoke can be fatal to a bird if they inhale directly.

Although the smoke is not toxic to birds, burning sage can certainly make their breathing a lot difficult.

What happens if you burn sage in front of birds?

Here are a few possible outcomes that might happen to a bird if you burn sage in front of them:

Struggle to breathe:

Humans, dogs, and cats have different respiratory systems as compared to a bird. A bird does not have lungs that can filter out smoke or dust particles.

If someone burns sage in front of a bird, the birds inhale the smoke, which eventually coats the air sacs completely. Without a filtration system, the bird might struggle to breathe at all if the smoke is heavy.

Skin and feature irritation:

Burning sage can also cause birds to have skin and feature irritation. Too much exposure can cause the issues to last longer.

Is burning sage safe for other animals?

For most animals, while sage is safe to be consumed with food, especially in smaller amounts, burning sage can cause animals like rabbits, rats’ reptiles or ferrets to get sick. If you have a rabbit or rat at home, it can sometimes be fatal if the area is closed and the smoke is heavy.

Rats, like dogs, have a very strong sense of smell. If you plan to put smoke from sage in a room, make sure your pet rat is not there. Their smell can be blocked and cause other issues like eye irritation. As for reptiles and rabbits, burning sage can be fatal to these animals.

As their lung capacity is small, the burning sage would block out their breathing passage completely.

If, on the other hand, somebody wishes to get rid of the unwanted snake, they might still use slight smoke to cast them away. Burning sage also makes ferrets irritated and causes them to have issues like allergies and breathing problems.

Does burning sage affect animals?

Burning sage can affect animals greatly. Although it is not toxic, the smoke from burning sage affects some animals more seriously than others. Rabbits, rats, and particularly birds are most vulnerable to getting harmed.

For other animals like cats or ferrets, the irritation should not be fatal.

How to keep animals away from burning sage?

To keep your animal way from getting harmed from the smoke of the burning sage, you would need to imply one of the following:

Let them out for a walk:

The best way to keep animals away from burning sage and its effects is to keep them outside while you burn sage inside the house.

Since smoke can get around, you might want someone to take them out for a walk. Keep them outside while the smoke completely slows down. Also, make sure that the smell is totally gone when they come back.

Give them distractions:

You can also give them distraction toys or other distractions like television or mobile for a while, and keep them locked in another room far away from where the sage is being burnt.

Make sure they cannot reach the spot where you burn the sage.

Can pets be around sage?

Although sage or the smoke produced from burning sage is not toxic, it can have the same effects on pets as smoke.

When you have pets around but you still have to burn sage for culture or health benefits, you may either want to keep the pet far away or burn sage in a more open space. In a room, there should be enough windows and ventilation as well.

Because smoke can trigger several irritations and other respiratory symptoms, it is best to keep pets away from burning sage and its smoke.

Of course, they can have sage in their food as it is a healthy herb known to be packed with anti-microbial nutrients. For some pets, like birds and ferrets, sage can be more fatal, and hence they should never be around sage.

Final Thoughts

Burning sage is not dangerous or toxic for pets like birds, cats, or other animals but it is not fully safe either. For some animals with weak lung capacity, it can be more fatal. For other animals like dogs, the smoke can irritate the eyes, sense of smell and disrupt the regular respiratory system.