When considering a family pet, a pig may not come to mind, but is the choice of many families. Yes, a pig, but not a farm pig, which can grow to over 1000 lbs.
Families are adopting Mini Pigs, which are actually a specific breed: Vietnamese Pot Belly pigs. The average weight of a full-grown potbelly is about 125 to 150 pounds, but they have a compact body, which compares to the size of a 50 lb dog.
Pigs are very intelligent, become attached to their owners, and can live from 12 to 15 years, so plan on a long term commitment when you adopt.
People are attracted to these animals because they are friendly, playful, easily trained, clean, odor free and non allergenic.
Before you make a decision to adopt a potbelly pig:
- Check with the zoning office where you live. Some communities consider pigs to be livestock and others call them an exotic pet.
- Make sure there is a local veterinarian prepared to take care of your pet.
- Be alerted that dogs and pigs do not make good companions so if you already have a dog, do not bring home a pig. If you believe the stories that these animals can coexist and adopt a pig, never leave them alone together.
- Also do not bring a pig home if you have small children. Pigs are herding animals and will work to dominant and herd the children creating a dangerous situation for young children. It is interesting that cats and pigs will accept each other.
You must “pig-proof” your home. Pigs are comparable to toddlers. They will try to put everything in their mouths including electrical cords. They trip over furniture, and have been known to open cupboards and even the refrigerator looking for food.
Prepare a special place for your pig to call home; preferably a room of his own! If not, a closet would be good. However, he will be happy with a corner containing several blankets you can get from a thrift store. He will shred the blankets until they are just the way he wants them.
Purchase pig chow, which is prepared specifically and is nutritionally balanced for pigs. Pigs have different food requirements than dogs, so should only be fed dog food if it is an emergency. Also do not feed them people food!
You can add a few vegetables occasionally but stick to the pig chow to make sure that the pig is healthy. Plan on enough food to feed the pig twice a day.
Decide if you are going to take the pig outside for bathroom duties. If not you can prepare a litter box. You will need something the pig can actually turn around in. Many pig owners use a small plastic child’s swimming pool.
Use pine shavings or shredded newspaper in the litter box. Do not use kitty litter because it clumps and the pig may try to eat it.
Consider adopting a pig from a shelter. There are more pigs in shelters than people realize and there are very few good breeders. So adopting a pig from a rescue will give a pig a good home!
Have a baby gate ready for the pig corner, so you can give him a limited area at first.
Then allow him to explore the house. He will use his nose to inspect the floor in the whole house looking for even a crumb of food!
You can plan on using treats to train your pig because they will definitely work for food! They are so intelligent that they are considered the fourth smartest animal in the world.
If you still want to adopt a pet pig, just a few more thoughts. A pig is so smart; he will try to outsmart you. A pig loves food and will do almost anything to find it.
A pig likes to root so if you don’t have a yard for him to root in, he will root up your carpet. If you do have a yard for him, he will love rooting it!
Are you ready for the challenge? Your pig adventures are just beginning!