We are well aware that you love your mini pig more than words can describe, hopefully you are taking your pig into the vet's office for regular vaccinations and/or veterinary care and you likely gush about the deep emotional feelings you have for your pig, as many of us do. But chances are, you may be overdoing it, overlooking important things and/or ignoring issues, in some cases. Here are 14 things we would really like the mini pig community to STOP doing.
From a breeder's website Naturally, they are wrong....it depends on your city's ordinance or animal laws/regulations, most "pets" are required to have routine vaccinations INCLUDING rabies since pigs can absolutely contract it and my city REQUIRES the rabies vaccine to be given. I am a firm believer in being proactive when it comes to the health of animals, so I DO believe that pigs should be seen at least once a year for a basic check up as well.
1. Getting medical advice from breeders.
Is your breeder smart? I don't know. Is your breeder knowledgeable about the health and well-being of your beloved piggy? Who knows?!? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to breed animals and it certainly doesn't require a DVM behind their name for them to think they know more about mini pigs and genetics linked to serious health issues depending on their breeding practices. Nonetheless, many of them don't have a clue about zoning ordinances, travel restrictions or basic care for pigs, so they likely have very little to offer in terms of medical advice. This isn't applicable to every single breeder, of course, but I would say that a breeder isn't qualified to give medical advice, just like anyone else who isn't a veterinarian. In one of the examples above, the blue letters discusses tusks in pigs. The information isn't accurate though, at least not all of it. ALL pigs do have tusks. However, contrary to what this person writes, the tusks can protrude more than 3 inches from the lip well before the 4th birthday in either sexed pig regardless of whether or not a pig is intact or the length of time that has passed before desexing a pig. This is more about genetics rather than opinions. Any pig has the ability to grow tusks just as long and sharp as the ones you see on tv though. It is thought that the tusk root in female pigs closes once they hit maturity, but the males tusk root never closes, so the tusks continue to grow throughout his lifetime.This is something that needs to be considered when you are thinking about adding a mini pig to your family.
Let me add, whether or not vaccinations will be given to a mini pig are often decided by the pig parent, although some cities require certain vaccinations be given in order to be in compliance with the city's ordinance. Rabies, for example, is not common in pigs and there is no "pig-approved" rabies vaccination available, but the rabies vaccination is often used "off-label" in pigs when a city ordinance requires a rabies vaccination. As with anything, some pigs may have a sensitivity to certain medications and may even have reactions to vaccinations, but this is a calculated risk and something you should discuss with your veterinarian. Other vaccinations are offered for pigs and you can read more about them by clicking here.
2. Replacing your veterinarian with Google or social media.
A Google degree is worthless and the unsafe and downright dangerous advice being given by other mini pig parents is not only irresponsible, but could also lead to your pigs death. If you search Google for answers to your pigs problem, you may find exactly what YOU think is wrong with your pig and possibly even what the treatment would entail, but this educational information should NOT be what you use to medically diagnosis and treat your pig because who knows if that's truly what's going on with your pig? Our website provides a lot of information about illnesses and diseases, but again, only a veterinarian, who has access to your pigs entire medical record and can physically assess your pig, should be telling you how to treat your pigs ailments.
I feel that the problem is even worse on Facebook, IG, Twitter, etc. Do you know the person who is giving you potentially life altering advice for your pig? Are they qualified to do so? What if they're wrong? I believe people use social media for a lot of healthy things, such as posting pictures to update friends and family, stay connected with people you haven't seen in a long time, make new friends, about situations you may be proud of or even venting about the ones that have you upset, but medical advice for your pet should NOT one one of them.
If you are looking for a vet that treats pigs, click here to view our veterinarian map. Establish a good relationship with your veterinarian early on so you can ensure your pig will have the best chance at a long & healthy life.
3. Following the feeding instructions on feed bags or from morally constipated breeders.
Since every pig is different in size and mobility, following "standard" feeding instructions on feed bags can cause your pig to be over or underfed. We recommend feeding your pig according to the body scoring chart because it demonstrates if a pig is receiving too much or too little food simply by the condition of their body. I have literally seen texts, emails and private messages from breeders to new pig parents giving them very specific instructions on feeding their pigs, ridiculous amounts like "11 pellets". Please do NOT follow advice like this that restricts a piglets diet to such minuscule amounts. Piglets need substantial nutrition, as this is the time when their body is growing and building the "foundation" for their future. Limiting their feed to small/unsubstantial amounts is potentially going to affect them for the rest of their lives, possibly even causing a lot of harm during this critical time in their lives. I am, by no means, saying that all pigs should be fat, but piglets specifically should not be skin and bones. They actually should be a little pudgy so they have the reserves to grow without causing them to look emaciated. And, body scoring charts are NOT to be used as a reference for pigs under a year old. Those charts are designed for maintaining healthy body shapes in pigs whose growth has slowed down. The first year of life is typically when pigs do 75% of their growing with the last 2-4 years at a much slower rate. (not all pigs, but most of them)
4. Feeding your pig whatever you want.
Pigs should be fed a feed designed and formulated for miniature pigs. Production pigs have different nutritional needs, dogs have different nutritional needs, humans have different nutritional needs. Your pig does NOT need donuts, potato chips, ice cream or other sugary/processed foods. Is the occasional bite of cake ok? Absolutely, but this must be limited to rare occasions and not a routine thing. Obviously those who choose an "all-natural" diet for their pigs are the exception, but you cannot pick & choose the foods that you give them, you must create a balanced diet. ALL nutritionally sound diets need to have all the major components of a balanced diet represented in what you have decided to feed them. (and this isn't recommended for novice pig parents at all.) Read more about nutrition by clicking here and healthy treats by clicking here.
5. Following food fads.
Just because your baby's daddy's best friend's aunt's cousin allegedly fed their pig something that was "organic" or "grain-free", that doesn't mean it's the best thing for YOUR pig and your pigs nutritional needs. Fads that are trendy for humans isn't what's best for our porcine pals. Stick to a solid reputable mini pig feed and fresh veggies. Sometimes these fad diet trends lack essential vitamins or nutrients that your pig really needs and by not feeding your pig a balanced diet, you could be jeopardizing your pigs future health.
6. Going overboard with treats.
Trust me when I say, I used to be just as guilty as others with regards to treats. Your pig will do the same spin, hoof shake and sit command for 1/4 of ONE Cheerio. Your pig will go outside in the cold or rain without you having to entice them to do so by throwing treats outside. Learn how to train your mini pig to follow commands using other methods of positive reinforcement such as clicker training and/or strick routines.
I hate scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and seeing mini pigs being fed pizza, ice cream, french fries and other human foods....these foods are not what's best for your pig. Again, moderation is key, the occasional bite of a special treat is ok, but the problems arise when newer piggy parents constantly see this and think it's normal to feed mini pigs a diet of junk food. If they don't have appropriate support systems in place or anyone to advise them differently, they end up with a 200 pound food aggressive mini pig by the time the pig is a year old and that is not ideal.
7. Not seeking veterinary care at the first sign of illness or injury.
Your pig may be just fine if you decide to hold off on veterinary care when you believe your pig doesn't feel good.....however, this does not come without consequences. Imagine your pig is sick and you wait several days before calling your vet and setting up an appointment. In the meantime, you have tried all the advice your new pig friends gave you, such as "give your pig 100% pure canned pumpkin", or coconut oil, but your pig passes away, before ever being seen by a vet. Later you find out the illness could've been easily treated with antibiotics and death could've been avoided all together. Can you live with that decision? As soon as your pig shows signs of being sick, such as not eating, drinking, peeing or pooping, you should call your vet. Period. We do have forms on the website that were created to help you collect important information about the clinical situation to give your vet in order to help, and you can download one of those forms by clicking here.
8. Turning down pet insurance.
"Exotic vets" can be pricey. The number of veterinarians who routinely see miniature pigs definitely do not outnumber the ones who see more traditional animals like cats and dogs, so essentially, they can charge what they want having very little competition to worry about. In my experience, I have found that to be the opposite..the vets that I have dealt with are extremely reasonably priced, but I do realize that isn't the case everywhere. Having pet insurance can soften that blow or sometimes even eliminate a costly vet bill in its' entirety. Does it hurt to get a quote? Not at all, it may be much more affordable than you think. Click here to learn about which companies offer mini pig insurance.
9. Quit buying pigs on a whim! Matter of fact, please consider rescuing a pig in need versus paying a breeder $1000's of dollars for the same pigs that are currently in rescues, shelters or in need of a new home.
Paying $1,000.00 or $5,000.00 is NOT going to get you a better pig than anyone elses. Period. End. of discussion. Many breeders customers pigs, which cost these families A LOT of money, are already living at pig rescues, sanctuaries and/or in animal control or posted on social media looking for new homes now. This isn't one of those "the pricier the pig, the better quality" type of thing. Genetically defective pigs, pigs with behavioral issues, along with pigs of all shapes, sizes and colors can be purchased from a breeder. I have seen short, tall, long, not-so-long, "behaviorally challenged", black, white, brown, orangish, striped, fat, skinny and every other adjective you can imagine come from breeders. I have seen the same types of pigs/piglets at pig rescues too. Possibly even a distant relative of the ones that someone paid a lot of money for. Pig rescues have pigs of all ages, shapes, colors and dispositions. They have piglets, they have "mature" pigs and GREAT pigs that would make awesome pets, pigs that would LOVE to be part of a family. Please consider this before rewarding someone for contributing to the already saturated mini pig market.
10. Not spaying and/or neutering your mini pig.
It is a well known fact that intact pigs do NOT make great pets. They're often unpredictable and usually display undesirable and aggressive behaviors which could all be eliminated by simply having your pig fixed. A lot of families no longer want the pig once these issues surface and look to find a more "suitable" home....what they don't understand is that spaying/neutering can rapidly change a pigs behavior and in turn, alter their life for the better while also avoiding costly medical issues that will most likely arise over years, such as uterine or testicular tumors, by simply having those organs removed early on during a routine spay/neuter procedure. Read more about the dangers of not spaying or neutering your pig by clicking here.
11. STOP calling your "mini pig" a breed!!!!!
"Mini pig" is NOT a breed! It is a adjective-based classification tool that's often used to differentiate between larger production type pigs and smaller breeds such as potbellied pigs or kunekune's. While I often have to argue with people about the existence of "mini pigs", if the context is appropriate in the use of the term miniature pig, meaning as compared to farm pigs, there absolutely are "mini pigs". There are NOT Teacup, Micro, Nano, Pixie, Designer, Apartment, Micro-Mini pigs and these adjectives are misleading and deceptive. Regardless, MINI pig is NOT a breed of pigs though. Click here to read more about actual breeds of pigs.
12. Quit allowing your pig to run all over you.
When your pig has you trained, it's a disaster waiting to happen. Work with your pig, teach your pig manners ad respect. Teach your pig tricks, do NOT allow your pig to choose dinner or breakfast times. The more this behavior is reinforced, the worse it's going to be. Read more about common behavioral issues in mini pigs by clicking here.
Training your pig is a bonding experience, it teaches them about the herd dynamics in YOUR home and also teaches them valuable lessons like respect and manners.
13. Stop purchasing underaged pigs.
Underaged piglets are already at a disadvantage because they were taken away from mama pig too soon. Not only can this be lead to high mortality rates (deaths), but your pig misses out on learning how to "be a pig!!" You can't teach your pig as another pig can. It's unethical for ANYONE to sell a "bottle baby", a pig that is still nursing or under 6-8 weeks old. Again, if you reward a breeder for poor breeding practices, they will continue to do it.
14. For God's sake, do NOT leave your pig and dog together unsupervised.
We have warned and warned and warned people about the dangers of prey versus predator types of relationships, but some just cannot imagine their dog doing anything to hurt their pig. Some of those same people come home one day to a dead pig because they elected to ignore those warnings. That's just dumb. Furthermore, don't tell others it's safe and perfectly acceptable to do so. Do NOT listen to people with NO pig experience who have no business advising new or potential pig parents about the care of pigs, especially when they claim it's perfectly acceptable and actually encourage people to keep the two together. This isn't an urban legend, this isn't some scare tactic everyone uses to somehow misguide or mislead people into thinking their beloved family dog who is 6 years old and "always friendly" could accidentally or unintentionally hurt pig, it is FACTS. They are facts because there have been hundreds, if not thousands of cases, when this has happened and it is 100% avoidable if you'd simply use safe methods to protect your mini pig when you cannot be there to supervise your pets. 100% avoidable! Dogs and Pigs should never-ever be left alone!
So, it really should've been 15 things we would like to see the pig community stop doing because as the day went on, someone brought something else to our attention which does warrant mentioning here.
STOP ATTACKING EACH OTHER! We all make up the mini pig community. All the pig parents, all the pig rescues, rescuers, people who transport and yes, even the breeders. When one group of people blatantly attacks other, we all lose. If it's not bad enough for the general public to say ugly things like those people let gross farm animals live in their homes, we cannot even tolerate and respect each other, so we will never gain respect from the people outside of our own community if we cannot respect ourselves. I get it, sometimes there are inflammatory comments that hit a nerve, or a truly ignorant comment, but you can make someone feel small in a respectable way without dropping the "F" bomb. Education is key. Don't argue, teach. Every moment you spend arguing with someone who already knows it all is a missed opportunity to teach people something. I also realize this completely contradicts statements I made above, in terms of being respectful to one another, but I do not feel I was disrespectful with my wording, I feel like I was blunt and honest. (others may feel differently though) Every one of us have made mistakes, all of us have learned something from each other, and we were all new to pigs at one time or another. People who simply don't know come to us for answers, not to be belittled. If you have a personal issue with someone, keep it personal. Don't encourage an entourage of people to harass and bash someone else. Don't join in on hateful conversations based on information you don't know to be factual. Assumptions are just that, facts are proven results. Don't hate someone based on another persons feelings, make your own judgement call. There are a lot of people that I don't personally care for, but I don't demand that my friends dislike them to in order to stay friends with me, that's ridiculous.
Think of these 3 simple things when responding to a post or comment.
1. Is it true?
2. Is it kind?
3. Is it necessary?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, move along and keep your comments to yourself.
Don't be mean for the sake of being mean. Handle things privately as long as you can and handle situations with dignity and grace. Other people don't seek help from hateful people and you cannot bully anyone into your beliefs.
In closing, I would like to add that Mini Pig Info was created as a strictly educational website. We do NOT sell pigs, matter of fact, we don't sell anything. We don't provide unnecessary registries for pigs, no certificates, no merchandise, but we do offer solid educational information and we are always here to assist you on you and your family's journey with your porcine family member. Our goal isn't to become the "authority" on mini pigs or for notoriety of any kind. We are a team of people who love pigs and want to help other pig parents by providing a place for them to find accurate and credible information about the health, training and care of their pigs. Our efforts are genuine and our love for pigs is pure. I say all this to say that just because we don't create articles and pages on our website designed to make us appear to be "leaders" of the mini pig community, that doesn't make the information any less credible than any others who are attempting to do just that. We would prefer that you take that money you might spend on an unnecessary registration or membership and donate it to a pig rescue, Mo Money For Pigs or simply use it to care for your own pig. I know we have a lot to offer those who want to be helped, and we are more than happy to do so. If you have questions, feel free to message us on our Facebook page or email.
Things We Would Love To See Changed In The Mini Pig Community
11/10/2018 10:02:18 am
This is a great article!! The only thing I would change is the recommendation for a rabies shot. I know a lot of places require you to have them vaccinated for rabies, but there has never been any research to show rabies vaccines even work for pigs.
Mini Pig Info
11/10/2018 10:11:33 am
I agree that there is no pig approved rabies vaccination available, but it’s used off label for those whose cities/towns ordinances require them to be vaccinated. But I will definitely edit the wording to reflect that information, and we appreciate your comment, as this wasn’t what was on my mind as I wrote it, but absolutely important to disclose. Thanks!
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