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This swampy college town has many claims to fame, both because of its football team and its handful of nature preserves - but Gainesville is working toward becoming notable for another reason. Pups! The middle-Florida city isn't known as the most dog-friendly city in the state yet, but with over 80 different pet-friendly establishments, numerous outdoor activities catering to your pup, and new mindsets being ushered in, soon enough, pups will rule G-ville.

One of the main issues with the Gainesville area is the influx of pet purchases and adoptions that don't go through due to college students in the area. This means that shelters and organizations have to work extra hard to find good, fur-ever homes for pups in the city.

One of the biggest organizations, the Alachua County Humane Society, is a non-profit organization that's dedicated to helping dogs in the area find homes, keep them safe, and promote, overall, responsible pet ownership and adoption. The organization works to re-home doggos and boosts fostering programs. 

Another popular shelter that helps hundreds of dogs annually is the Gainesville Pet Rescue. This organization focuses on rescuing homeless pets in Alachua county and presenting opportunities for fostering, donating, or volunteering. All animals taken into their program are guaranteed a home, regardless of the length of time they stay in their foster programs - a message they've enforced since their 1993 inception!

Upcoming Dog Friendly Events in Gainesville

  • Admission FREE!
    Month September

    #1 Woofstock

    Much to your pup's delight, Woofstock is back and it's a barkin' good time! This newly-annual event, put on by the Alachua County Humane Society, is a big, pawesome party for the organization celebrating it's stellar live-release rates in Gainesville, saving thousands of doggie-lives! Woofstock features groovy live music, a live & silent auction, food, drinks, and of course, pups galore at an honest-to-woofness Alachua livestock barn.
    Dog friendly event?
  • Admission FREE!
    Month October

    #2 Dog Days Run

    Drenched in 36 years of Gainesville tradition, the Dog Days Run is a pup-event you and your pooch won't want to miss. This event attracts runners from all around the state, and you know what that means - so many new pups to sniff! 

    The event is put on by the University of Florida's Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association. It includes a 5k race, a one-mile fun run, a raffle, contests, prizes, and more! Make sure you leash your pup for the run, and don't forget to hang around after for the Drool and Ghoul Costume Contest. You and your dressed-up pup could win even more prizes! 

    Dog friendly event?
  • Admission FREE!
    Month October

    #3 Howlin' Halloween

    Join the Gainesville Pet Rescue for their fourth annual Howlin' Halloween. You and your hound can enjoy a photo booth or just peruse through the local vendors (both for you and your four-legged friend). Your pup can even steal the show in the costume contest and win prizes for the cutest, most creative, or group look-a-like costumes

    Make sure your pups are polite, fixed, and vaccinated! 

    Dog friendly event?
  • Admission FREE!
    Duration Year round

    #4 Puppy Parks

    Gainesville has no shortage of puppy parks for you and your furry friend to enjoy, including some unique choices. Kanapaha Gardens is a 62- acre botanical garden with a 1.5-mile trail that leads you and your pup through over 24 major collections that are visually accessible. You and your canine can explore, sniff, and see the beautiful plants and flowers. 

    If you and your doggo are less interested in sniffing plants, and more interested in sprinting around a park, check out Possum Creek Dog Park, a sectioned-off, fenced-in dog park that is packed with doggie-water-fountains, benches, and other, curious pups. For more variety, visit Dogwood Park, an off-leash park that's fully fenced and features two swimming ponds.

    Dog friendly event?
  • Admission FREE!
    Duration 8am-6pm, year round

    #5 Swampy Hikes

    Gainesville is known as the Swamp, and it's not just because the college football team mascot is a Gator. Gainesville is situated on a lot of swampy land, which makes for great hikes! Sitting outside the city is Paynes Prairie, a savanna state park. You and your leashed pup can enjoy dozens of trails leading to the prairie, romp around in the swampy areas, and if you're lucky, see some wild buffalo and horses. It's important to note that this is an area with alligators, so your pup needs to be leashed at all times. Additionally, stay away from the trails that explicitly state no pups - those warnings exist for a reason!
    Dog friendly event?
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