When are dogs allowed on the beach?

DOG owners can get fined for taking their four-legged to the beach.

To save you any issues, we have pulled together a list of all of the dog-friendly beaches in the UK.

When are dogs allowed on the beach?

There are around 1500 beaches across the UK – and each one will have different rules on their doggy visitors.

A large number of beaches ban dogs from the start of May until the end of September.

Dogs enjoy a trip to the beach as much as their owners (Credit: Flickr/ Charlie Cowins)

Outside of these dates, dog owners will be free to explore the seafront with their pooch.

In other cases, dogs are allowed on the beach all year round.

While another beach might order you to keep your dog on a lead at all times.

If a beach has a pier, it is unlikely that your dog will not be allowed to enter.

Different rules apply for Guide Dogs in the UK.

All dog owners are advised to check the rules of the beach before you set off.

Will I be fined for taking my dog to the beach?

Should dog owners fail to keep their dog from straying into the exclusion zones – which will be clearly signposted on the beach – then they face the prospect of being fined.

Should you be caught in the banned area with your dog, you could be served with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75.

However, the fine could rise to up to £1,000 should you dispute it and you are then prosecuted through the courts.

There are exemptions to being fined, including if you are registered blind.

Why are dogs banned from going onto beaches?

The main reason for not allowing dogs on to beaches at certain times is for health and safety purposes.

Although most owners will clean up after their pets when they are out, some fail to pick up their dog’s poo. 

Due to a dog’s diet being largely meat-based, leaving their faeces on the beach runs the risk of humans contracting toxocariasis – or zoonosis. 

And during the busy months, this becomes even more dangerous – especially for children – with potential problems including blindness and breathing difficulties.

Things to consider when taking your dog to the beach

Dogs love a nice trip to the seaside, just like their human companions. 

But there are a number of rules and tips to consider when heading to the beach.

These include: 

  • Check with beach management to see if dogs are allowed
  • Take poo bags to clear up their mess
  • Bring a lead – dogs have to be on a leash on some beaches at all times
  • Avoid the big crowds
  • Consider some people may not like dogs
  • Take plenty of fresh water and a bowl for your dog
  • Take a first aid kit in case your dog becomes injured
  • Check for local vets in case of emergency
  • Make sure your dog is wearing their collar and ID tag
  • If they are wear a GPS tracker, make sure it is fully charged
  • Take spare towels to dry them
  • Keep an eye on your dog at all times

Can dogs drink sea water?

Dog owners need to be extra careful if their pooch likes to paddle in the sea.

If a dog drinks too much sea water, it will likely suffer with sickness and/or diarrhoea.

It can also make dogs dehydrated due to the saltiness of the water.

Always take a bowl and fresh water with you to make sure your dog is not tempted to taste the ocean.

If your dog has been in the sea, you should wash them when you get home.

If you do not, your dog might be tempted to lick the leftover salt from their fur.

Dogs ears can also become infected if too much water goes into the ear canals.

What should you do during an emergency?

If the worst does happen and an emergency occurs when your dog is in the water, call 999 and request the coastguard.

You should not immediately go into the water yourself to try and rescue your dog.

If your dog is stuck in the water, try to be as vocal as possible from the shore to give them a direction to aim for.

How do I protect my dog from wildlife at the beach?

  • Keep your dog on a lead if you spot any signs that birds are nesting in the area – which is likely on the face of a cliff.
  • If seals are regularly spotted in the area, keep your dog on a lead. Should your dog approach a young seal, the mother is likely to defend them relentlessly.
  • Check the water for jellyfish (dead or alive) before letting your dog go for a paddle. Reminder: Jellyfish can still sting when they are dead.
  • Do not let your dog eat or swallow any seaweed. This could potentially cause a gut blockage or give them an upset stomach.