Learning to Care for Your Pet Pig
by Jessie Miller
Here we will discuss how to keep a pet pig healthy, what to feed your potbelly pig and how to train your pig.
Are you thinking of adding a pig to your home? Pigs are easy and fun pets. They make great companions, but it starts with learning what they need for overall basic care before you decide if a pig is the right animal for your lifestyle and home. Oliver is a pig that lives at a farm sanctuary and Hamlet is a pig that lives in a home with his adoptive mom. Both pigs are rescued and have learned to be housebroken, come when called, and they both stay happy and healthy with good food and veterinary care.
If you are thinking about adding a small pig to your home
- 1. Please consider adoption first as there are so many pigs looking for new homes across the United States.
- 2. Read on to learn how to care for your pig so you’re prepared to be the best pet pig parent on the planet.
FEEDING YOUR PET PIG
Providing them with a healthy diet that promotes good health, and a balanced body weight is important for a long life with your new pet pig. Small pet pigs are omnivores. You will want to incorporate a balance of low-calorie grain (special formulated pig pellets or low-calorie horse feed) mixed with fresh vegetables and a small amount of fruit. Fruit is full of sugar and can cause your pig to be overweight if they consume too much. You will also want to consider how much natural grazing your pig will have access to. Do you have a large back yard full of grass and other vegetation? Depending on how much your pig will get to naturally graze will determine how much grain and natural food like veggies and fruits to feed them.
POTTY TRAINING YOUR PIG
Small pet pigs make great indoor and outdoor friends. Unlike popular belief, pigs are notoriously clean in nature. Just like dogs, they don’t like to poop or pee where they eat and sleep. Because of this they are fairly easy to house train. You can teach them to go outside or to use a litter box. Either way is perfectly fine, just pick one. Just like a dog, you will need to show them where to potty and praise them. You can even give the activity a name or command such as ‘go Potty.’ Choose your word wisely and use it consistently.
In the beginning when you first bring your pet pig home you will want to provide them with a small, confined space. This is to manage them having full range to go anywhere in your home. This will help you get them outside more often for more opportunities to potty outside. If they go potty in a place they aren’t supposed, and you catch them in the act verbally correct them with a stern “NO”. Then direct them to go where you want them to go.
Oliver lives in a barn with his own dog bed. He holds his potty all night until he is let out in the morning.
VETERINARY CARE AND NEEDS FOR SMALL PET PIGS
The overall health of any potbelly pet pig will need to be considered. Pet pigs need vaccinations, deworming, hoof trims, and if they have tusks those will need to be trimmed too. Every region is different so depending on where you live will dictate what vaccines your pig will need yearly. Consulting with a knowledgeable pet pig vet is recommended before vaccinating any pig. The common vaccines pet pigs receive are: Erysipelas, Tetanus, Leptospirosis, Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, and Rabies.
Because potbelly pigs will graze and root in the ground, they are susceptible to parasites. So deworming is essential every 4-6 months. You can use something over the counter like Diatomaceous Earth or Ivermectin to prevent internal and external parasites.
Hooves and Tusks are two things’ pigs have that keep growing and must be maintained. Regular trimmings ensure the tusks don’t grow to long causing harm to your potbelly pet pig. Hooves need to be trimmed to maintain the overall health of the pig. They spend a lot of time on their feet and overgrown hooves can cause discomfort for walking and moving.
While Oliver lives in a barn and Hamlet lives in a house. They are both known as a potbelly pet pig and they both live very happy and healthy lives. When you learn to care for your pet pig you can have a long-lasting relationship with one of the most intelligent and personable animals on the planet.
For more details on being a responsible pet pig parent, visit The American Pig Association