For many people the word pig brings up images of a farmyard, potbellied pigs are however increasingly popular as domestic pets. They are much smaller in size than the standard farm pig, and commonly seen with mixed black and white coloring; or all black, all white, or silver coloring. Adults usually weigh around 125-200 lbs, when fully-grown at around 2-3 years they are about the height of a medium sized dog. They have an average lifespan of 15-20 years, and are somewhat low maintenance pets, requiring about the same amount of daily care as a dog. Potbellied pigs are pretty popular among city pets, and their small size is very suitable for apartment living.
The potbellied pig is originally from Vietnam and is a combination of several breeds. Given the chance, they can interbreed with common farm pigs and wild boars as they are all part of the genus sus scrofa. Potbellied pigs are exotic pets, which can make them a bit more tricky than a cat or a dog for this reason: not all veterinarians treat them which can make it difficult to get these pets the care that they require. Pigs need their tusks trimmed every couple of years, and may need their hooves trimmed annually. A veterinarian, or an owner who has learned how to, from a doctor, can do this. Pigs will have to be spayed or neutered and do require regular vaccinations.
Potbellied pigs make enjoyable pets because they are very intelligent and devoted. However, like many animals, they are prone to laziness and aggression if not properly exercised and socialized. At times, an adult pig may rebel against the owner in a so-called dominance aggression, and will need to be gently yet strongly reprimanded, and taught to respect the owner’s authority. They can be well trained if properly motivated by food and other rewards. They take well to positive reinforcement when they are behaving well, but should not be physically punished.
Pigs should have daily walks on a leash or they will gain weight. They will eat nearly endless amounts of food, particularly high-carbohydrate unhealthy food if allowed, so it’s vital to restrict your pet’s access to some food it craves. They are determined when in search of food, and should be kept far away from the kitchen or any food storage. Special pig food can be purchased at a pet store or online special-ordered. Pigs are omnivores, which means they are equally interested in vegetables, meats, sweets, and carbohydrate-based foods.
Pigs are social herd creatures, and it is often recommended that they are kept in pairs or groups, especially if they are kept outside of the house. This will keep them stimulated and active. Because of their intelligence, when pigs get bored they may become destructive and troublesome. Not enough attention or playtime can compel pigs to do anything from rooting up plants to taking up linoleum floors and even eating drywall. Pigs should be kept in their own confined area of the house, preferably an entire room, if not an enclosed outdoor area. They are clean and nearly odor-free, so it is not usually difficult to find a room where they can wander around.
Like any pet, a potbellied pig is a serious commitment and requires some specialized care that demands some time as well as resources. Shelters are overflowing with abandoned pigs whose owners did not foresee the kind of attention their pet would need. However, the intelligence, affection, and personality of a well trained, cared for potbellied pig can be a great reward for the prepared, responsible owner.
Do you own a Potbellied Pig?
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