Ever think about having a pet that is unusual in most people’s minds? We are constantly bombarded with pleas to rescue dogs and /or cats that need homes. We have an overflow of these little pups and kittens that need forever homes.
Actually, rescue centers and humane societies are over flowing with animals that need homes. There are more animals that need homes, than there are homes for them. I don’t see that dilemma changing soon.
Not until humans take some small responsibility for the overflow of animals. Killing them is not the answer. Slowing the constant birth of litters is the answer. More about that issue in future articles.
Pigs need homes, too. Have you ever thought about a pig for a pet? Well, a lot of people have and there is a market for special bred miniature pigs as pets. We’ll find out about their needs, their personalities, laws covering pigs as pets, and how they get along with other pet species.
Laws Pertaining to Potbellied Pigs as Pets
Before you make a final decision on getting a pig for a pet, check out the ordinances and laws for your state, county, city or municipality, or HOA (Home Owners Association) for rules and regulations pertaining to pets, and particularly pet pigs.
Laws vary depending on where you live. Since we are talking about a pet pig, many people think that the USDA regulates potbellied pigs, but they don’t. The USDA considers potbellied pigs as pets, not a food source.
Laws are different from State to State. If you plan on taking your pet pig on a road trip, check out travel laws from one area to another.
Zoning restrictions vary from place to place. These restrictions will vary from the size and weight of the animal, to whether they will live outside or inside, to how many pets(inclusive) you are allowed to own.
More and more Municipalities are enforcing animal cruelty and animal rights laws. In the case of potbellied pigs, you may run into regulations for care of pigs in winter, in summer, in the yard, etc.
On the other hand, if you live in a strictly rural area, a pig may be just a pig and not a pet. In which case, you may have running arguments with your neighbors about the classification of your pet.
It is better to know all the local restrictions before you pay out a sizable amount of money for a new pet, only to discover that you may run into a long, expensive lawsuit.
What Kind of Animal is a Potbellied Pig?
The scientific name of the potbellied pig is Sus Scrofa Domesticus. The average adult size of the potbellied pig is three feet long, and can weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. Their life expectancy is between 12 and 18 years old.
Potbellied pigs are intelligent and they are trainable.
They can be house trained, they will learn how to walk on a leash and will even learn to do tricks.
One might think that having a pig for a pet is much like having a big dog. I think that having a pig for a pet will be more challenging than working with a big dog for a number of reasons. Potbellied Pigs are headstrong and very sensitive. Their owner must earn their trust and cooperation through lots of praise and treats.
As with many highly intelligent animals, pigs will become bored when left to their own devices. Boredom can lead to destructive behavior. Pigs like to root around in the house and in the yard. Rooting is using their snoot to search for food. The rooting activity can lead to knocking over objects inside the house and tearing up the yard outside.
The Role of Food
Potbellied Pigs have one passion: Food. They are constantly searching for food. They will learn how to open the refrigerator door-the cupboard and pantry doors in their quest for food. They can become quite aggressive when demanding food.
What type of diet is best for a potbellied pig?
First of all check with your Vet for a proper diet for hungry little pigs. Pig pellets- the mainstay of their diet- are low in protein and fat and high in fiber. Again, check with your vet for the proper amount to feed.
Pigs also need fresh, non-starchy veggies. Veggies should make up 25% of their daily diet. Add alfalfa hay and bran for fiber. Some vets will recommend a multivitamin once a day.
Feed two meals a day, in a large bowl, on a regular basis. Also, set up a rooting area somewhere in the yard and scatter some daily diet in that area. It will satisfy the rooting need and rooting in dirt is a way for the pig to ingest minerals such as iron and selenium.
Always have a large bowl of water available for your pet. Above all, avoid feeding a pig fatty foods, salty foods and table scraps.
If your pet pig stops eating, take him to the vet as soon as possible. He could have developed an infection or a blockage.
Form a close bond with Your Pet Pig
Potbellied Pigs will form close bonds with humans. They will learn to live peacefully with other animals in the house, especially if they have been raised together. They do much better when raised with other pigs.
They like to be massaged and scratched by their special human They will happily sit by you and cuddle. Pigs are friendly, but can become aggressive and territorial when they feel threatened.
Pigs must be taught to respect and follow the rules their humans set down for them. Pigs are loud as well as aggressive. Spaying or neutering your pet pig can control some of their unruly behavior.
They like to play with treat puzzles. In the section of the yard where rooting is allowed, hide food in treat puzzles and let them find the puzzles and root out the food. Pet pigs can probably play that game all day. Remember, they never get tired of hunting for food.
Pigs must have their own space. It can be something large, like a large crate or tent. They will also appreciate a rooting box of their own. It can be a large shallow box filled with rocks and natural materials. Hide bits of food in the box that pigs can find. Pigs need daily exercise and lots of walks and play outside.
Potbellied Pig and Skin problems
Do not leave your pet pig in an area without shade. They can become overheated and light skinned pigs are easily sun burned, which can cause skin cancers. They can also contract Mange. See your vet right away if your pet develops dry, scaly, itchy skin.
Provide your pig with a cool, shady spot that is available all day. A shallow pool would be most welcome as well. Pet pigs should have an annual wellness check. and their hooves need to be trimmed periodically.
Now that you have decided a pet pig is what you really want, find a reputable dealer or a trustworthy rescue organization. Be sure to see your pet before buying. The seller should provide you with detailed information: health history, temperament, size when full-grown.
You will pay around $500 from a breeder, less at a rescue shelter.
Potbellied Pigs come in various sizes. Find out about breeds and adult sizes. Vietnamese, Kunekume and Chinese potbellied Pigs will grow to 125-200 pounds and 16 to 26 inches tall when full-grown.
Pig size categories:
Miniature Pig : up to 100 pounds 15-16″ tall
Teacup Pig: 35 to 45 lbs. 14.5 ” tall
Toy Pig 35 to 40 lb 14″ tall
Royal Dandy 29 to 39 lbs. 15″ tall
Micro mini Pig 18 to 30 lbs 10 to 12.5″ tall
Be very sure of your breeder’s reputation. People can be easily misled as to the size of that little piglet when full-grown.
My thanks to The Spruce Pets, Potbellied Pig by Lianne McLeod, DVM
Pictures by Pixabay
Would love to hear from my readers
Is your dog overweight? Is your cat overweight?
It seems like weight is a topic of interest to humans . We have weight loss programs, diets that promise rapid loss of extra pounds, exercise programs that promise svelte bodies, and on and on.
Trouble is when we put on pounds, our pets tend to put on pounds, too. It is difficult to make our pets understand that they must cut the pounds as well. So, what do we do if our dog or cat is overweight?
It is up to us to regulate our pets’ food intake. One obvious way to do this is to not feed them table scraps and meat trimmings. Table scraps have all kinds of additives that our pets really shouldn’t have; salt, butter, gravies, starch, etc.
So, why should we worry if our pets are carrying a few extra pounds. What can it hurt? Let’s talk about dogs first.
Dog weight problems
Dogs like to run. Overweight dogs have a tendency to damage their joints if they are carrying too much weight. Arthritis can rob your dog of years of exercise and play because of painful joints .
If you think your dog is putting on a few extra pounds, talk to your veterinarian about the proper food to feed your dog so that he gets the protein and vitamins he needs, without the extra pounds. Dogs won’t need an exercise program if their diet is regulated. Dogs just like to run if they are healthy.
Cat weight problems
After kittenhood, cats are not into exercising. They are more likely to fall into a pattern of eating, sleeping, eating, sleeping— you get the routine. Cats are meat eaters. Strictly protein. As they age, they tend to develop elimination problems. That is when you need to add some fiber. So is your cat overweight?
Follow your Vet’s advice on what to feed your cat as she gets older. Extra weight can rob a cat of years of basking in the sun and batting a ball around the room. Cats also develop diabetes and renal disease as they age. Extra pounds can hasten the onset of these problems.
For both dogs and cats, keeping extra pounds off of them will add years to their lives. Do not feed cats or dogs table scraps or meat trimmings or other table foods. Feed your pets what your Vet prescribes.
By the way, your pets should have at least a once a year checkup. As they advance in years, and begin to develop minor ailments, twice a year may be necessary.
Proper food and care will add years to your pet’s life.
I’m Barbara Nelson and I always like to hear from my readers.
Next time: Miniature horse, donkey, burro