AUBURN, Ala.- Recently, it has become a trend to own pot belly pigs as pets, but is the responsibility it entails worth the instagram post? According to the American Mini Pig Association, the responsibility of taking in a pot belly pig should not be taken lightly. Here is some things you need to know if you are considering a pig as your next pet.
What you should know before buying your pig
If you are looking for a smart animal, and have a lot of time on your hands, pigs might be the good pet for you. These highly intelligent animals require a lot of patience and training before they get accustomed to their new setting.
Jamie Hacker, owner of 6th Day Creatures with his wife, Leigh, have a pet pig, Pippa. He says a pot belly pig is still classified as a mini pig as long as it weighs less than 200 pounds.
“If you ever see a pig that someone states is a mini pig and it has a curly tail, they are not being truthful. True mini pigs have a straight tails, and most of the time they will wag it back and forth like a dog,” Hacker said.
Potential buyers must be aware that they have to dedicate a lot of time to nurturing a pig. However, after a few months, pigs will have trained themselves to mimic their owner’s daily activities. For example, if pigs see where their owners get their food, they are most likely to open the cabinet and feed themselves.
Sally Stricklin, owner of Piggy Patch Farm in Cleveland, Alabama, says that having a mini pig can be a wonderful experience.
“They are clean, trainable animals. A teacup pig will learn in two to four days. They are sensitive. When they trust you, they will become your best friend,” said Stricklin.
Stricklin said, “One of my favorite things is to help deliver babies. The piglets are very therapeutic, and you can’t help but smile while watching them play.”
Responsibilities of pot belly pigs
Pigs require more attention than any other pet. Pigs have to be comfortable in their homes. They also need proper care and check-ups by a veterinarian. Pigs are considered large animals, teacup or not, and they must be taken to large animal hospitals.
Sarah Dickinson, a regional agent in animal science and forages with Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the intelligent animals should be properly researched before a decision is made to bring a baby or adult pig into the family.
“As with any family pet, proper care, housing, feed and time commitments must be realized and made before welcoming a pot belly pig into the family. Like other potential pets, the pig will need proper healthcare-including vaccinations and spaying/neutering- from a veterinarian competent in pig care. Potential owners should realize and be willing to commit to raising an animal that will likely grow to weigh 100 pounds or more, benefit from time outdoors, and require a care for a long term lifespan,” said Dickinson.
Pigs like to have their own space, and will typically sleep on blankets or dog beds. They need to have exercise, so a large, grassy area is essential to keeping your pig healthy and not overweight. They also have a simple diet of fruits and vegetables. Your pig also should not eat scraps or have treats throughout the day.
Pigs are also relatively clean animals, despite the stereotype. They can be trained to use the restroom outside, and also use a litter box. An upside to owning a pig is that they will get along with most cats and dogs, so owners are able to add pot belly pigs to their pet family.
Downsides to owning a pot belly pig
While there are mostly positive aspects of owning a pig, there are a few downsides as well. Pigs become bored easily even if owners dedicate time to them. They can be destructive of furniture and belongings.
According to HumaneSociety.org, one of the downsides is their rooting habits. As part of their nature, they will root in the ground to search for food. Owners must be cautious of this when pigs are inside and around mud. You could end up with scratched hardwood floors and quite a few holes.
Lastly, if not given proper care, pigs can have serious health issues in regards to their bowel movements, as well as obesity problems. If owners give their pigs the attention they need, most problems can be avoided!
Finding your pot belly pig
Pot belly pigs are classified as livestock, and in numerous cities having pigs as pets is not permissible. You should check your city’s zoning ordinances as well as your neighborhood association about regulations on keeping pigs as pets.