Best Dog-Friendly Swim Beaches

PET CHECK BLOG Durdle Door beach, Dorset, England

\\\ Visiting UK Beaches With Your Dog \\\ updated autumn 2022

What Beaches Are The Cleanest Beaches For Dog Walks?

Can I Swim With My Dog?

Millions of Brits take holidays to the UK’s 11,000 miles of coastline resorts yearly, enjoying particularly the sunny summer months. Dog owners take some of the 13 million dogs that reside in the UK staying at the growing list of dog-friendly hotels, apartments, Airbandbs, camping, and caravanning now on offer.

Whilst lots of preparation and research goes into your organising day trips and staycations, you may not give much consideration to how clean or dirty the local beach and seawater cleanliness when having a dip with your pet, simply relying on the various tourism claims of the ‘Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches’ until you arrive at your destination.

Who Cleans The Beaches For You And Your Dog?

The responsibilities fall on councils who organise clean-up days specifically to spruce up and clear litter from beaches, routinely with the help of many local volunteers, before the tourist season really gets underway, during the season, and after, encouraging great media reviews to attract more visitors into their towns, generating more income for local businesses, but little promotion goes into stating how clean or dirty the seawater is and the amount of debris being washed ashore after high tides. It just wouldn’t sell the destination to you and your pet to visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure you leave the beach as you find it, and that includes picking up your litter and dog’s poop and placing it in the designated council bins placed by the beach entrances and in nearby car parks.

Councils ban dogs from popular beaches over the busy summer periods to ensure beaches stay as clean as possible, with local information on closures on their websites and maps and signage at the beaches. Fines can be imposed to offenders.

When Is The Best Time To Visit A Beach?

Beaches are best visited after high tide. The high tide may wash in all kinds of debris at the high point of the beach where you need to keep your dog away from scavenging. About an hour or two after the tide has started going out, will provide more space to sit with comfort on the beach for a few hours, before it starts getting very busy, as any sandy parts become exposed and start to dry out.

Busy beaches are patrolled by lifeguards who may offer local advice if there are any unusual local disturbances to the beach front. Check which beaches have RNLI cover on their websites.

High tide times are posted on local media and weather sites. Check your destination before travelling.

How Clean Is The Sea For You And Your Dog To Swim In?

Government department, The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, DEFRA, has been routinely testing UK’s beach water for years. They test during popular times, spring and summer seasons, and results are provided on their website. As the busy summer season continues, water becomes less clear in numerous popular hotspots.

Disappointingly, beaches have to be closed temporarily if there is a spillage where the water has fouled the beach and is treacherous to swim in. Spillages are renowned after heavy rainfalls and thunderstorms that overburden the sewage system. There can be trouble spots where water companies are routinely fined for poor management of sewage spills out to sea. Even top fashion magazines now write about the Eu’s problems with dumping waste in the seas. Read Vogues take on recent sewage problems.

So before you book your holiday or take an excursion, hop onto the DEFRA website and check out the latest test results. Hundreds of UK beach locations have their own informative web page on the government’s ‘Bathing Water Profile’, such as famous stunning Durdle Door, East and West beach, in Dorset, England, the East beach featured below.

A classification for each bathing water is calculated annually, based on samples from the previous four years. These classifications, from best to worst, are “excellent”, “good”, “sufficient” or “poor”.

It’s essential to keep an eye on local social media websites to make the best of your special trip.

The Isle of Thanet, Kent was recently subjected to a lightning strike hitting their coastal sewage pipes discharging foul raw waste sewage up and down 11 beaches. These sorts of emergencies play havoc for tourism-related businesses as well as visitors who have specially booked a holiday to take in the sea air with the expectation of clean beaches and to be able to swim!

Durdle Door Sea Water Has Currently Rated ‘Excellent’ To Take A Dip In 2022


\\\ Dogs That Swim

What Is Tested For In The Seawater?

Data provided by DEFRA illustrates the levels of E. Coli found in the seawater around the beach location.

What Is E. Coli And How Does It Affect My Dog?

Colibacillosis is a disease caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, which normally resides in the lower intestines of most warm blooded mammals, including dogs. Normally, the presence of E. coli is benign, and even beneficial, but in some cases it can cause a diseased condition, especially in newborn puppies.


If your dog seems to be developing unexplained symptoms after swimming in the sea, contact your local vet or book an online vet appointment as quickly as possible. Symptoms may include lifelessness, diarrhea, sickness, and sudden lack of appetite. There may be others more severe symptoms depending which organ(s) are affected.

Wild Water Swimming

PET CHECK BLOG Cavapoo sitting by the river
Rivers Are Tested For Water Quality

Image Pet Check Blog

Rivers, lakes, open waters, always look so enticing to just take a quick dip in when the temperature starts rising but can have lots of hidden problems including the poor quality of water.

Water samples are taken at sampling points around England and can be from coastal or estuarine waters, rivers, lakes, ponds, canals or groundwaters.

English rivers have failed to meet quality tests for pollution amid concerns over the scale of sewage discharges and agricultural and agricultural, and chemicals entering the water system for many years. (Read The Guardian 2020). None of this is good to swim in for you and your dog and avoid long spells of swimming.


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