How To Prevent Dog Beach Accidents

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\\\ Dog Beach Accidents updated summer 2022

PET CHECK BLOG Cavapoo at the seaside

What Are the Most Common Beach Accidents For Dogs?

Image Brighton & Hove by Petcheck Blog

Preventing Beach Accidents

The British public love beaches with the second largest coastline in the world, with thousands of miles available to visit for staycations, weekends, and bank holiday days out with your dog.

The UK’s growing dog population, estimated to be in the region of 13 million (according to the PMFA 2022) means more than ever are accompanying owners and enjoying fabulous days at our seasides.

It’s important to stay safe in new surroundings and avoid unnecessary and sometimes costly emergencies

Restrictions are lifted post-pandemic, however, popular beaches are restricted to pets during summer months. Some busy destinations want visitors to book in advance to reserve their car space, such as the very popular sandy beach at West Wittering in West Sussex. During the summer school holidays, it becomes packed on sunny days, so it’s important to plan ahead before a day out.

Popular beaches may have several dog-restricted zones to help overcrowding issues, where dogs are not allowed onto those particular areas of the beach. These restrictions usually start on 1st May, and last until 30 September each year, with some beaches starting as early as 1 April or Easter time. Local councils have details and maps of these on their websites for visitors to check and beach areas are marked with signage. Fines can be imposed for those not heeding to the regulations

PET CHECK BLOG A day at the seaside

When you and your dog hit the beach, ensure you’re ready for eventualities before costly accidents happen.

Image Pet Check

The Most Common Beach Accidents Vets See In their Surgeries

Debris Left On Beaches

Hide tides can bring in a multitude of debris to our coastline. This includes –

  • Fishing hooks that can be washed inshore with tides or left on the beach by careless fishermen. As one can imagine they can cause nasty paw injuries and become embedded in dogs’ mouths causing extensive pain and injury and requiring veterinary help.
  • Dead rotting fish are a nuisance for dogs if they scavenge and eat. The fish decomposing may contain deadly toxins. Cuttlefish found extensively on UK beaches do not pose a risk, being extremely high in calcium if eaten, but dogs have been known to choke on them.
  • Dead seaweed can be in abundance on some coastal shores, often washed up in heavy tides. If dogs eat this, it can expand in their stomachs and cause problems that will need immediate veterinary help.
  • An increasing problem of polystyrene finding itself onto UK beaches causing serious harm when eaten by dogs. Polystyrene is made into cheap single-use surfboards and used as floating pontoons in marinas and with wear, breaks off, floating onto beaches, often in swarms of minute-sized white balls landing on the sand and shingle.
  • Do not let your dog eat foods thrown away by beachgoers who haven’t disposed of their waste in the bins provided.
  • Dogs have been known to swallow pebbles which would need veterinary emergency treatment to remove the blockage.

Move your dog away onto another part of the beach if the coast has washed up debris. Keep an eye on your dog at all times.


  • Picking up balls that you may be throwing may be covered in sand which dogs ingest. If a dog swallows enough sand this can cause serious digestion problems, causing a blockage in the intestine and needs immediate attention by a vet.
  • Using driftwood and throwing sticks for dogs is not encouraged as dogs love to run, pick up and then sit and chew these which can cause splitters to puncture their mouths.

High Temperatures

We flock to beaches because we want to enjoy sunny days but this brings added problems for your dog. If temperatures are high, it’s best to visit earlier or later in the day and avoid sitting out in the sun at midday.

  • Dogs can catch sunburn if out in the open all day on the beach where short-haired and white-haired breeds are more prone, and those with pink ears. Provide some shade for them, using a sun umbrella or a special dog canopy.
  • Bring lots of water and a collapsible bowl for your dog to ensure they do not become dehydrated in hot weather.
  • If you see your dog starting to drink sea water, stop them as not only is this excessively salty but will contain parasites and bacteria and cause nasty upset stomachs.
  • Hot sand can burn our feet at the best of times, and likewise, hurt dog paws. Try to avoid walks at the hottest times.

In The Water

  • Just because humans can swim doesn’t mean all dogs can. Some smaller breeds find swimming extremely difficult. Don’t encourage your dog to swim, if they do not want to.
  • Jellyfish often can be found in warm waters around the UK. These can give humans a nasty sting, worse for dogs. Best to avoid beaches and areas where these persist.
  • However, other dogs simply love splashing around in water and swimming and can wander out too far. Currents can be unknowingly strong. If your dog is a regular swimmer, buying a dog life vest, similar to the picture below, may be the answer to help provide buoyancy, particularly for when they tire in strong tides.
PET CHECK BLOG - Dog Buoyancy Aid Life Jacket

Leaving Beaches

  • Many of our beaches have scrubland and scientific areas of interest at the upper shores. Scientific areas often have designated walkways which the public must keep to, for your, and your dog’s safety. Nasty adders and other snakes lurk in the grasses which can give your dog a nip and can prove fatal.
  • Your dog will need water before travelling home.
  • Keep a bundle of old towels handy in your car to dry off your dog if they have been swimming, and to clean paws by wiping off all sand. When home, give them a good bath to remove all debris.
  • Take all your rubbish home with you or dispose of it in the bins provided, including dog poop which is your responsibility to clean up off beaches, pop in poop bags, and dispose of in designated bins.
PET CHECK BLOG Dog under towel

If your pet has suffered an injury and you are not sure what to do, contact your veterinary surgery or use the video chatlines that are now available 24/7 manned by qualified vets.

Always listen to the advice of life guards who may be patrolling the beach.

PET CHECK BLOG - Pet First Aid Box suitable for dogs and cats

Have a handy dog First Aid kit in your vehicle available from good pet shops

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