July 05, 2019

With summer holidays coming up, we share our pick of the best UK dog-friendly beaches.

We do love to be beside the seaside

In a recent survey, 32% of dog owners told us that the beach is their favourite place to take their dog for a walk.

A beach walk can be heaven for your pooch too. They feel the wind in their fur, the sand between their paws and have acres of space to run around in.

And, of course, most dogs can’t resist a quick splash in the sea.

Breeds that were born to swim

Some breeds are natural water babies. Hunting dogs such as Labrador Retrievers, Poodles and Irish Setters were raised to retrieve game from water, and are irresistibly drawn towards the sea, ponds and lakes.

The name Poodle comes from the German word ‘Pudel’ meaning ‘puddle’ and ‘pudeln’ – ‘to splash about’.

If you see what appears to be a black bear swimming near the coast, it’s probably a Newfoundland. These gentle giants with webbed feet and huge lungs were bred to rescue fishing crew from drowning and are strong enough to pull small boats back to shore.

On a slightly smaller scale, the Portuguese Water Dog is an expert at ‘herding’ fish into nets and fetching fishing equipment that falls overboard. Either breed would be handy to have around if you’re planning a fishing trip during your summer holiday.

Canine landlubbers

Dachshund with puppies

However, not every dog is a natural swimmer and you should never assume that your dog can swim or that they’ll enjoy it once they’re in the water. Typically, miniature breeds such as Chihuahuas aren’t strong swimmers, and the same goes for Bulldogs, Dachshunds and Boxers.

The doggy paddle isn’t a paddle. It’s more of an “underwater trot” according to Dr Frank Fish, a professor of biology at West Chester University, Pennsylvania.

Even if your dog is an aquatic acrobat, you can give yourself extra peace of mind by investing in a doggy life jacket to keep your dog safe in the water.

How swimming supports your dog’s joints

If your dog loves water and has stiff joints, swimming is one of the most effective forms of exercise around. Water supports your dog and creates a feeling of weightlessness, so there’s less stress and impact on the body. In addition, water increases resistance and helps your dog to build up stronger muscles.

“I’ve been on @lintbells_pet_health YuMOVE Plus for a few months now and look at me go! I can swim as much as I want! Also, afterwards I don’t get as stiff and I rarely limp now which is great! Thank you Lintbells🙌🏻

For dogs who are stiff or getting older, as well as a refreshing swim to get those joints moving, we also recommend our YuMOVE range. Packed with concentrated Omega 3, Glucosamine for dogs and Hyaluronic Acid to cushion the joints, it supports long-term joint health and promotes mobility. Whether your hound is in or out of the water.

Best British beaches for dogs

Talking of holidays, we’ve scouted around to find some of the best beaches for you and your four-pawed friend to enjoy this summer.

  • Walmer Beach, Kent – dogs are allowed all year round on this pebbly beach north of Deal.
  • Lossiemouth, Moray Firth – this dog-friendly sandy beach is the perfect place for you to spot wildlife including seals and dolphins.
  • Whitley Bay, North Tyneside – dogs are allowed on this two-mile stretch of sand and there’s an area where your pup can exercise too.
  • The Strand, Portstewart Beach, County Londonderry – at this award-winning National Trust-owned beach, you can park right on the beach, then you and your pooch have two miles of golden sand to enjoy.
  • Freshwater West Beach, Pembrokeshire – this sandy beach is a favourite with surfers and dog owners. And, true to its name, there’s a fresh water stream where your dog can drink. (NB: Watch out for rip tides on this beach.)
  • Perranporth Beach, Cornwall – with breath-taking views and three miles of sands to walk along, Perranporth has been voted one of the most dog-friendly beaches in the UK.
  • Portland Bill, Dorset – @tilliestailwaggingwalkies on Instagram recommends Portland Bill lighthouse. They say it’s dog-friendly, there’s a lovely coastal walk and a fantastic café / restaurant with outdoor seating.

Portland Bill Dorset


Check out The Beach Guide for a huge list of dog-friendly beaches in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Good beach behaviour

Look out for yourself, your dog and other beach users by always:

  • Checking for any restrictions when dogs are allowed on the beach.
  • Keeping your dog out of the sea when waves are rough.
  • Checking for warnings of dangerous currents or riptides.
  • Cleaning up after your dog.
  • Providing fresh water and shade for your pup.
  • Keeping your dog away from other people’s picnics.

More of a poolside pup?

If you think your dog might prefer to swim in a pool rather than splash about in seawater, you’ll be delighted to hear that doggy lido swims are now a thing. Lidos and outdoor pools are usually warmer than the sea, so that’s a kinder environment for older dogs whose joints are getting a bit stiff.

This September, Saltdean Lido in Sussex is opening up its pool to canine customers and their pet parents. If your dog fancies leaping into the deep end, dipping a paw in the paddling pool or chasing water jets in the wet play area, this is their big chance. Tickets are on sale now for 14, 15, 21 and 22 September 2019.

Share your doggy paddle pics

What have we missed? Which are your favourite beaches or lidos for dog-friendly swims? We’d love you to share your summer doggy swim pics with us on Instagram and Facebook. See you on the beach!

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