From condo to farm, North Florida is a great place for animals.
Cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and more exotic pets such as llamas and peacocks all find a welcome home in Gainesville and its environs.
If horses are your thing, this is one of those places where you don’t have to go broke getting riding lessons for yourself or your kids. There are equestrian trails stretching in all directions as well as hundreds of horse farms to visit. Find out more on our equestrian page.
You will find a wealth of resources for your smaller pets.
Cats, dogs, birds and lots of other animals will find superb care at the University of Florida’s Small Animal Veterinary Clinic and Hospital as well as among scores of local providers including mobile vets, veterinary clinics and veterinary emergency room facilities. Services range from state-of-the-art conventional medical services to complementary or alternative veterinary medicine.
Specialty shops cater to pet owners with healthful foods and treats for cats, dogs and birds. Want something a little wilder? There are shops for snakes, turtles, tarantulas and lots of other critters.
We only ask that you not release your exotic pets into the wild. Florida’s climate is inviting and exotic species do just fine here, but at a huge environmental cost. Snakes, in particular, can decimate the balance of the native ecosystem and displace native species.
If (heaven forbid) your pet is ever lost, Gainesville Pet Finder offers a service on Facebook to help reunite you and your pet.
Bee Keeping (Apiculture)
While we don’t think of bees as pets, many people are quite fond of their honey bees and we have great resources here. The University of Florida IFAS has a large education and research program on beekeeping http://ufhoneybee.com. The Doyle Conner Building houses Florida’s main regulatory body on beekeeping, bee inspection. The Gainesville Area Bee Club is one of over 30 associations affiliated with Florida State Beekeepers Association.
Dr. Malcolm T. Sanford, Professor Emeritus, University of Florida has quite a bit of experience in both national and international beekeeping activities, including a recently published book, Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees.
If you are already a beekeeper, you can apply for the Master Beekeeping Program, a 5-year program offered by the University of Florida. If you are curious and considering beekeeping, Crone’s Cradle Conserve offers ongoing programs in beekeeping for the novice.
Backyard chickens are legal in Gainesville and surrounding areas; however, you should always check your zoning and neighborhood association regulations to make sure you comply with local laws.
Those of us that have cats know that they are very different from dogs! You will be happy to know that we have veterinarians, pet sitters and groomers that specialize in cats.
Operation Catnip is a free spay/neuter program for feral cats that is run entirely by volunteers; see: http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/extension-outreach/operation-catnip/
Dog Friendly Gainesville at http://www.dogfriendlygainesville.com/ is a directory of people, places, and activities that are dog friendly—veterinarians, groomers, trainers, walkers, sitters, boarders, restaurants, stores, housing and more. Check out the amazing dog friendly restaurants list of over 25 establishments!
There are a several public dog parks for your pet to romp and socialize: Forest Park, Northeast Park, Squirrel Ridge Park, and Possum Creek Park. We also have a private dog park on 15 beautiful acres complete with doggie pools! People parks are welcoming places too, as long as your dog is on a leash! There are doggie daycare facilities and even a doggie summer camp. We have top notched groomers here too – some with special “spa” services and massage.
Dr. Deborah Cottrell at West End Animal Hospital just outside Newberry is a nationally recognized authority on ferrets. She treats ferret patients from all over the Southeast and has pioneered several unusual surgeries, including leading a team that performed the first-ever successful pacemaker implantation in a ferret. See: http://www.westendanimal.com/home.html
In addition to national chain stores like PetSmart and Petco, Gainesville has two Earth Pets stores—locally owned businesses that specialize in healthy, eco-friendly, and organic pet care products.
There are plenty of veterinarians in the area, including mobile vets who will make house calls. Many of our vets trained at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine; see: http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/
The vet school has a disaster response team capable of deploying up to 17 team members who can assist with veterinary care in disasters such as hurricanes and fires; see: http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/about-the-college/administration/directors-office/about-vets/
The independent Institute of Veterinary Specialists provides specialty services in cardiology, dermatology, internal medicine, and surgery, and provides referral services, telemedicine services, and mobile services for veterinarians. See: http://www.vetheart.com/index.html
If your pet gets sick overnight or on a weekend, some local veterinarians offer emergency care. You can also take your pet to the Affiliated Pet Emergency Services clinic, which provides critical care during those hours when other facilities are closed; see: http://affiliated-pet.com/
Paws on Parole
A cooperative venture between Alachua County Animal Services and the Florida Department of Corrections Prison Dog Training Program, Paws on Parole places dogs with prison inmates for training to provide experience and education for inmates and increased opportunities for adoption for the dogs. See: http://www.pawsonparole.com/home.cfm
Sanctuaries and Adoption Agencies
There are many organizations that offer sanctuary and/or adoption services for pets and other domestic animals in Gainesville and surrounding areas. Here are a few:
Alachua County Animal Services
Alachua County Humane Society
Gainesville Pet Rescue
Haile’s Angels Pet Rescue
Helping Hands Pet Rescue
Maddie’s Pet Rescue of Alachua County
Puppy Hill Farm Animal Rescue
Three farms in the area provide lifelong care for horses that have been neglected or abused or that are unwanted and destined for slaughter.
Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm
Horse Retirement Home, Marion County
Windhorse Sanctuary for special needs horses
Pigs, Potbellied and Other
Rooterville is a sanctuary in Archer that provides rescue and adoption service for potbellied pigs and other pigs. The Rooterville folks also educate people about these highly intelligent animals, and provide help with fencing and other assistance that enables some people to keep their pet pigs instead of placing them in the sanctuary. See: http://www.rooterville.org/
Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that rescues and offers a safe haven for monkeys from around the United States that are former pets or have been abused, confiscated by authorities, or retired from research. See: http://www.junglefriends.org/
Two Tails Ranch cares for retired elephants and exotic felines