Dog Poop On The Beach

PET CHECK UK Dog poop waste bin at beach

\\\ Dog Walks

\\\ updated November 2021

Q. Can I Leave Dog Poop On The Beach?

A. No

More than 1,100 tonnes of dog waste is dropped a day by dog walkers and their pets according to pet statistics, 2019. Since then, Covid-19 has introduced an estimated 3 million more dogs into our pet community adding to this enormous burden placed on UK local councils to clean up.

Poo bins are placed in accessible parks, playgrounds, and pavements for dog owners to deposit their dog’s mess when out walking. This became normal practice since 2016, when The Dog Fouling Act 2016, placed responsibility on “the person in charge of the dog” at the time of the misdemeanor. Fines currently imposed are up to £80.00. Some councils impose fines if you come out walking your dog without poo bags or pooper scoopers.

Just because one is visiting the beach with your favourite companion, your dog, this doesn’t make any difference, which is a common misconception by many beach visitors.

Visitors are under the impression that it is OK to leave your dog’s mess on the beach as the high tide will wash it away into our oceans.

Unfortunately, this is often not the case as Metro’s article, April 2021, astonishingly shows the kind of beach clean-up necessary, where local volunteers generously donate their time to clear beaches regularly, ready for visitors to enjoy, helping their business community.

PET CHECK UK Metro / Brixham Beach

The picture shows more than 100 black sacs full of litter debris including dog muck left on just one Devon beach. It’s not just polluting our oceans, but our shorelines and is not visitor-friendly.

It continues with Cornwall Live highlighting a new campaign, launched by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), explaining how water quality can be affected and pose a risk to public health because of the high levels of bacteria contained in dog mess.

Dog restrictions are placed up and down the UK’s beaches where owners cannot take dogs onto popular beaches, either from 1st April, Easter, or 1st May each year. One of the main reasons why there are beach restrictions is because of the problems of owners not picking up their dog’s poop.

Beaches become unrestricted 1 October to 30 April in most UK areas, but this doesn’t mean that there is any relaxation of the Dog Fouling Rules.

PET CHECK UK Dog clean up information poster
PET CHECK UK - Dog Poop - dog poop being scooped

About Your Dog Poops

About Your Dog Poop

Dog poop and urine affect water quality and could threaten the Blue Flag status of a beach. Blue Flags are very important to the tourist industry for local towns to gain and maintain every year, bringing in high visitor footfalls, helping the local economy.

Dog poop is generally meat-based excrement which can cause the risk of Toxocara in humans, and in severe cases, where humans have come into contact with dog poop, can lead to blindness. It used to be quite common to hear about young children that accidentally touched dog poop becoming blind. Fortunately, with more restrictions in place, this danger is now less so, damaging human health.

Dog poop bins on popular public beaches are placed at entrances to beaches, beach car parks, beach promenades, beach walkways, and along the actual back shores of the beaches.

It’s important to ensure all your dog poop is cleared up and put in these bins. If you cannot find a dedicated bin, then a general waste bin is acceptable. If you cannot find a general waste bin, then you must take it home and dispose of it in your normal way.

It is illegal to leave dog waste in the majority of UK public places and parks, but you can avoid fines in agriculture and woodlands, rural common land, marshland, and motorways areas where traffic is above 50 mph.

More than 1,100 tonnes of dog waste is dropped a day by dog walkers and their pets. UK local councils must keep public areas like parks, playgrounds, and pavements clear of dog mess. Dedicated bins are provided for dog owners to pick up their dog’s mess and place this in the bins.  

The Dog Fouling Act of 2016, places responsibility on “the person in charge of the dog” at the time of the misdemeanour. Fines currently imposed are up to £80.00. In some council areas, you can be fined for forgetting to carry poo bags or pooper scoopers when out dog walking.  

Councils encourage residents to be responsible, where they see a dog owner who is continuously breaking the dog fouling laws, to report them, and usually have a simple online page on their council websites. The few exceptions made are for those who have mobility and disabilities, working dogs such as sheepdogs, and police dogs whilst on duty.  

If you have a garden then it’s possible to create an area for your dog to relieve themselves and keep dog mess in one area which can be picked up quickly. Use material like small pebbles or bark (not cocoa bark which is toxic to pets) and where it can be frequently hosed down to keep the area hygienic and topped up with fresh bark when it requires it.

Most owners don’t like the smell to linger in their back gardens, so there is absolutely no reason why we, the public should leave dog poops on beaches for other visitors.

Always make sure you teach young children never to touch poop as it can be dangerous to human health even causing blindness.

Horses and donkeys are allowed to walk on beaches accompanied by their rider as they only eat grass, so any excrete left on beaches, or in the sea, is not harmful.

The Best Dog Poop Biodegradable Bags

If you need to top up your dog poop bags try using the best biodegradable bags now made of cornstarch which are now freely available in the UK. Being a natural alternative to plastic bags, durable and strong, compostable, with some claims they break down within 90 days of use being the most environmentally friendly rather than the usual 10,000 years quoted for some of the dog poop plastic alternative bags on the market.


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