Miniature Pigs as Pets
Bob Judd, DVM, DABVP (Equine Medicine), DABVP (Canine and Feline Practice)
Courtesy of Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network
Date Published: 09/19/2018
- Miniature or pot-bellied pigs have become popular pets, but there are some things you need to know before deciding to purchase one of these animals. Dr. Mathew Edson from New Jersey indicates in American Veterinarian that lots of folks purchase these pigs expecting them to stay small. Some do, but some pigs will get much larger than expected. Because of this, many folks want to get rid of their pigs afterwards as they are unable to care for a larger animal, so consider this when purchasing a pig.
- Unfortunately, there is no way to know if a piglet is crossed with a regular size pig. Even seeing the parents may not be accurate as many pigs are bred while they are still growing. You have to trust the breeder and call their other buyers and see the size of their pigs as adults to determine if the breeder is trustworthy. Also, there are different sizes of pot bellied pigs so some are larger than others even though they are all pot bellied pigs. Buy miniature pigs from a reputable breeder and not some guy selling them in a pickup truck at the feedstore parking lot.
- Pigs can be trained to sit using a food reward as a training aid, but will naturally root on objects such as carpet and walls, and can cause damage. If a pig escapes, they can be extremely difficult to catch. Training them to walk on a harness or to respond to a food treat is a good idea. Mini pigs can be litter trained but also do well living outside. Make sure all fences extend below the ground surface and preferably are placed in concrete as the pig may root up the fence and escape the enclosure.
- Pigs are susceptible to sunburn, heat, and cold weather, so shade and bedding needs to be provided.
- One common problem is obesity. Regular pig feed is meant for pigs used for meat and not for pet pigs, so it is important to feed a specific miniature pet food and give the correct amount according to the label. Treats can be given but must be quite limited as they can contribute to obesity.
- Miniature pigs should not be housed with other animals as they can bite. They can also severely injure little children.
- Their hooves need to be trimmed every three to four months, and males have tusks that need to be trimmed, usually once a year.
Morriston Veterinary Services can help you with recommended vaccinations and parasite control.