Your Pet Potbellied Pig

Filed Under: Pigs

Pot bellied pigs are sweet-natured, intelligent, active and adorable. As a pet, however, they can be extremely demanding. Before you adopt a pig, please be sure you have the time, space and energy to dedicate to your new family member’s very particular needs. So many pigs are abandoned to sanctuaries because their owners weren’t prepared for the demand a pig places on its human companions. But if you can meet these demands, having a pot bellied pig in your home can be extremely rewarding, and you’ll have a friend for life.

If you’re thinking of bringing a pig into your home, check your neighborhood or city ordinances for any restrictions on pig ownership. Finding a good breeder is the first step in getting a great pig. The breeder should give you several pigs to choose from, so that you can see all the pigs are healthy, friendly and accustomed to being around humans.

Much like a dog or a cat, your pig will share your house completely. One quirk about pigs is that they can’t walk up stairs, so any small stair or landing in your house will have to be covered with a ramp in order to give your pig access to his whole environment. Pigs can be trained to walk on leashes, so anytime your pig is outside, keep him on a leash. Pigs love leashed walks as much as dogs.

One thing prospective pig owners should learn up front: pigs are big. As they grow—and they will definitely grow—some owners leave their pigs outside. Your pig will not appreciate this, and will repay you with nearly incessant squealing. If you start off your pig inside, keep him inside. Even a miniature pig is quite a large animal, reaching a mature weight of up to 125 lbs. Any pig that is smaller than it should be has most likely been underfed. Sadly, the practice of underfeeding pigs to keep them small has been recommended by irresponsible breeders. This will give you a malnutritioned, sick pig.

To keep your pig happy and healthy, feed him plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Pigs are omnivores, but to keep them from becoming obese, you must make their diet primarily vegetable and low-fat. Dog or cat food is too high in protein for a pig. There are commercially available pig chows, such as Mazuri’s Mini Pig. Your pig will always be plump but shouldn’t grow rolls of fat, and you should be able to feel the hip bones. If your pig starts to exhibit these characteristics, it may be time for a pig diet.

Pigs are extremely intelligent, love to learn tricks and just hang out with their human companions. Pigs also need to be trained, because they can be rather demanding personalities at times. They will quickly learn which behaviors are rewarded and which they will be admonished for. They are famous for rooting, so pig-proofing your home is a great way to avoid certain behaviors—and messes. To give your pig some play rooting time, bury food or toys in the yard. They’ll find them in a hurry.

Ask if your veterinarian has experience with pigs. If they don’t, they can most likely recommend a vet in the area who does.

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