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Potbellied and Miniature Pig

There are multiple varieties of miniature pigs, such as the traditional Vietnamese potbellied pig as well as tea-cup pigs, micro-mini pigs, and Juliana pigs. One of the main factors in differentiating these varieties is the size range the pigs will reach. Vietnamese potbellied pigs are the largest and can reach up to 100 lbs or more. Before getting a pet pig, it is important to check county and city laws, as they are still often considered livestock and therefore may have strict rules about transportation, or may even be banned in certain areas. Please click on the headers below for more information about all aspects of pig care. Click on the headers below for more information!

Housing

If outdoors, pigs can be housed in a large pen with insulated housing. If indoors, pigs can be kept in a pig-safe room when unsupervised. Pigs that have access to the outdoors will generally have fewer tendencies towards obesity, and have healthier coats/skin/hooves. It is important to monitor for temperature extremes, as pigs do not sweat. If the outside temperature is > 85 F, they need methods of cooling including fans, water, and mud wallows. They should always have access to shade, as they can sunburn as well. During the winter time, they need supplemental heaters or commercial heating blankets for pigs. Appropriate bedding can include old blankets or comforters, and deep piles of hay. The bedding should be cleaned on a daily basis.

Training

These animals can make great pets, but only in the right environment, and prospective pet pig owners should do thorough research first. Pigs are very smart and inquisitive, and need to start training and socialization when young. Additionally as pigs would normally spend most of their day foraging and rooting around for food, appropriate outlets need to be provided to allow them access to these activities.

They can be taught to use foraging toys, such as food dispensing toys made for dogs, or manna balls. If not properly socialized, pigs can become aggressive towards people. They can also easily be prone to obesity due to improper diet and/or minimal opportunities for exercise.

Pet pigs can and should be taught to use a litter pan. The litter pan can be made from a small plastic swimming pool, or the base of a dog crate. It should have a hole in the side so it is easy for the pig to get in and out of.

Diet

Pigs should be fed pelleted diets made especially for miniature pigs, such as Mazuri Mini-Pig, Heartland, and Ross Mill Farm. There are often separate diets for young pigs, adult/mature pigs, and geriatric pigs. Frequent feedings in small amounts, offered in treat-dispensing toys like the Manna Ball or Buster Cube help to encourage activity and decrease obesity. Pigs can also be offered small amounts of vegetables as part of their regular diet. Fruits and grains (like cereals) should be limited to treats. Pigs can also be offered hay.

Pigs should have a regular supply of water, changed and cleaned daily.

Medical Care

Vaccinations are often recommended, including Erysipelas, tetanus toxoid and leptospirosis. Pigs should be checked or treated for scabies, a common mite that causes severe skin inflammation and itching. They should be de-wormed as babies, and should have regular stool samples checked as they can carry a roundworm, Ascaris, which can be spread to people. Their tusks (especially males) may need annual trimming, while hooves may need trimming a few times yearly. Females should be spayed at 3-6mo of age to prevent unpredictable and aggressive behavior. Males should be neutered for the same reason, and also to help control odor. It is important to know that neither spaying nor neutering will eliminate the typical pig odor. Pet pigs are also commonly prone to obesity and nutritional disorders, and should have a veterinary exam at least once per year.