Our heartfelt thanks to Pet Sitters International for the guest blog this week!! ~MPI Team
Article By Pet Sitters International Staff
While pet pigs may not be as common as dogs or cats, their owners still need someone to provide quality pet care when work or travel keep them from home. However, finding reliable pet care is not as simple as enlisting a family member, friend or neighbor to help. While probably caring and good intentioned, they likely lack the training—and the insurance coverage—to provide the quality of care pet pigs deserve.
Fortunately, many professional pet sitters now offer care for pot-bellied pigs. Whether you need someone to simply feed your pet pig or take it for a stroll, a local professional pet sitter can offer peace of mind that other pet-care options cannot. Professional pet sitters provide pet care at the client’s home or property, allowing pets to maintain healthy routines in the comfort of their own home environments.
But selecting the right pet sitter to meet your family’s specific pet-care needs can take time. With numerous pet-care directory sites popping up in the last couple of years, anyone can post a profile online advertising pet-sitting services—whether they have experience and credentials or not. Pet owners should make sure that they are hiring true professionals before letting them have access to their homes and pets.
Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, recommends that pet owners schedule an initial consultation with a potential pet sitter before booking services.
“But what questions should I ask?” the owner of a pet pig may wonder.
PSI advises pet owners to ask seven important questions when interviewing a potential pet sitter:
In addition to asking these questions, Alisha Tomlinson, PSI member and owner of Heavy Petting Pet Sitting in North Carolina, advises that it is also important that owners of pet pigs provide some specific information to any pet sitter they decide to use. Tomlinson encourages owners to explain the pig’s exact routine to the pet sitter, indicate how much food the pig should receive, and where it is okay to touch the pig.
Sarah Palmeri, owner of The Sitters in Massachusetts—and also a PSI member—recommends that it is also important for the pig’s owner to share if it is potty-trained, is allowed both indoors and outdoors, what commands the pig is familiar with and, of course, what the pig’s favorite treat is.
PSI has found that its professional pet-sitting members adjust and expand their services to meet the needs of their pet-owning clients. A pet owner should ask if a potential pet sitter has experience caring for pot-bellied pigs, but even if the professional pet sitter’s answer is no, the pet owner may still decide to book services based on the pet sitter’s reputation and level of experience and training in the pet-care industry.
Oftentimes, professional pet sitters without “pig expertise” are able to quickly adapt to a pig’s routine and follow the care plan when given detailed instructions by the owner—or with a “trial run” before the actual pig-sitting services are needed.
Just as some people are “dog people” and others are “cat” or “bird” people, there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to finding the right pet sitter to meet the specific needs of you and your pet. In addition to asking the seven questions suggested above, make sure any potential pet sitter meets you—and your pig—in person before securing services.
Finding a professional pet sitter to provide the right pet-care services requires an investment of time—time to do phone interviews, conduct an in-your-home meeting and thoroughly check references on those you’re considering hiring. But, once you find that perfect professional pet sitter, you’ll have peace of mind—and your pig will be in “hog heaven!”
PSI provides pet owners with free access to its Pet Sitter Locator, allowing you to search for local professional pet sitters free of charge at petsit.com/locate.
While PSI recommends a professional pet sitter when vacation or work keep you from home, there’s one week we recommend bringing your pig with you—during the annual Take Your Pet To Work Week™! To learn more about this annual event that celebrates pets and promotes adoptions, visit the PSI website.
The very best thing you can do is educate yourself as much as possible. Do NOT take advice from people that may or may not be qualified to give you that type of guidance or advice. ALWAYS know you are getting credible information from a trusted source. There is sooooooo much inaccurate information being passed around, so we thought we would try and present some of the facts we know to be true that has seemed to cause an abundance of confusion.
I have told this story before, but not on the blog. When I had ZERO pig knowledge and ran out to buy a pig because I was selfish and didn't think it would be hard to care for a pig, I noticed these "holes" in my pigs legs. I IMMEDIATELY called my vet who was out of town, so a partner saw my pig. She agreed, it looked bad, possibly a parasite, a flesh eating bacteria, but felt confident in prescribing me an antibiotic and some antibiotic cream for these "abscesses". Needless to say, when my vet arrived back to the office and saw my pig was seen, he was kind enough to fill me in that they weren't "holes", not parasites, no flesh eating bacteria, but instead scent glands. That was definitely an expensive lesson to find out they were a normal part of the anatomy. Click here to learn more about scent glands.
In a pigs natural environment, they are able to forage around for food, pee in a stream and build a nest of sticks and leaves and can survive a long time doing this. We cannot expect an animal with naturally wild instincts to be good and act the way WE want them too ALL the time. It isn't going to happen. We can't make our pigs smaller, so we have to build bigger indoor enclosures, buy new fashionable pig clothes, bigger water and food bowls, reinforce weak or damaged fencing. Why you ask? Because you have committed to this pig for potentially 20+ years and as your pig grows, you will have to modify everything to make sure your pig is safe and secure.
Yes, pigs DO shed. Pigs are NOT hypoallergenic as some may say and people CAN be allergic to their pig. It isn't common, but it does happen.
We have a blog as well as a page dedicated to pig halitosis. Some pigs have HORRIBLE breath while others simply isn't that bad. There are a variety of things that could be going on, but based on my experience, this pocket of goop is what has caused the foul breath. Click here to read more about tusk care/dental care in pigs.
Yes, female pigs also get tusks. Most female pigs do NOT have big giant tusks like the males do, however, there are always exceptions. There are a lot of people who have no idea which is why we are adding it here.
Pigs NEED outside time. Pigs who are exclusively kept indoors can suffer from Vitamin D deficiencies and boredom. Bored pigs are often destructive pigs. Click here to read more about enrichment for your pig.
Pigs and dogs are natural enemies. I do not care how sweet your dog is, honestly, size isn't of significant importance when a piglet goes into a home with a dog. We see people posting daily on social media that their pig was attacked by the family dog. We warn as many people as possible. It doesn't matter if you are standing right there with them, it can and does happen all the time. 5 seconds is all it takes for your dog to get his/her powerful jaw around a pig's neck and your pig could die as a result. Please do not leave the two unattended. Click here to read more about the dangers.
Not every pig roots and causes complete destruction in the yard, but some do. If a perfect yard is in your plans, you will need to set aside an area for your pig with secure fencing (because the grass is always greener on the other side) to keep your pig contained to that particular area. Pigs have a great sense of smell, on top of that, they are extremely curious and like to dig around to find buried treasures that may be hidden in the soil. When pigs are not given the opportunity to go outside and root and play, they can often become destructive IN the house. A fenced in yard is a must for a pig parent. This is not only to keep your pig in your yard, but also to keep predators out. Click here if you need some ideas for outside containment. We have pages for indoor pens as well as outdoor houses and fencing.
Having a vet that sees pigs is a step in the right direction, having a vet that specializes in pigs is like hitting the lottery. There aren't many out there. It is super important to have a vet lined up, that's knowledgable about pigs, before your pig gets sick or injured. There isn't a worse feeling than knowing your pig needs to be treated, but you cannot find a vet to help. We have a list of vets that have been confirmed over the last couple of years who have said they will see pigs. Not all specialize in pigs and some are limited in what they can provide, so you will need to call and find out what their particular policies are with regards to pigs as patients. You can click here to view our vet map. We also have a general health form that you can download (click here to go to the general health page) and use should your pig become ill to help you with details you might not think is relevant, but your vet will be grateful to have. Aside from sickness or injury, a vet may be needed for vaccinations, general questions about your pig or routine care like hoof or tusk trims. Always have a back up plan, matter of fact, have back up plans for back up plans.
Piglets tend to do "ok" with stairs, but...as your pig grows older and wiser and bigger and heavier, they tend to have issues with stairs/steps. It is best to set your pig up with success by having an alternative solution ready to put into action, such as a ramp. Click here for our page that discusses this.
We preach this day in and day out. ALL pigs grow. The ones that do stay piglet sized (and there is only a handful that I am aware of) will likely never see their 5th birthday sadly enough. Some people are truly ignorant to the fact they're being told to basically starve a pig to stunt the growth while others know exactly what they're doing. Nonetheless, we wanted to make sure everyone knew there are no "teacup", "micro", "micro mini", "nano", "pocket sized", "apartment", "pygmy", "dandie" or any other made up misleading descriptive term to elude to one person over another having "smaller" pigs. Click here to see our page regarding this MYTH.
Checking the rules/laws/ordinances regarding pigs, in the area you live, can save a lot of heartache. Not all cities welcome pigs with open arms. Much like everyone who does add a pig to the family, it takes time to learn about them. Most people have never even seen a pig in person, much less thought about a pig as a companion pet. There has been a lot of success with people have ordinances amended to allow potbellied pigs to reside within city limits, but those people have worked hard to make that happen. We put together a packet of information to help guide you on that journey if you choose to tackle that. I have found that most cities are willing to listen to the information and typically have some follow up questions, but in a lot of those cases, the decision to allow pigs was the outcome. YOU will need to do some work to make your case and show your city/town/county why you feel pigs should be allowed. Click here to view our page and packet of information that can be useful to you if you are fighting to keep your pig or you want to establish or change an outdated ordinance.
No explanation needed.
Naturally we will add more to this page as the day goes on and time permits....What do you feel needs clarification? Send us an email at email@example.com or message us on our Facebook page. We are certainly open to suggestions, but wanted to present these "truths" in a creative way.
In the summer, it can get too hot, in the winter, it can get too cold and sometimes even impossible to get out of your home, much less trying to get your pig to go outside for ANY reason. First, let me say, I feed my pig outside regardless of the weather. Why is this important? Because no matter what the weather is like, my pig is willing to go outside because she knows she will not eat of she doesn't. I try not to take advantage of this and leave her outside during extreme weather though. However, she also knows she isn't coming back in until she potties. THIS is her routine and it is known by both me and her. Admittedly, I sometimes have to stand there with her holding an umbrella over her head, but that is still better than having to literally push her out of the door to get her outside to start. No need to let it rain on your pig's parade. (So to speak)
So there is inclement weather, and you are not able to let your pig outside for extended periods of time. Your pig is bored and driving you crazy....what can you do? Certainly you could give a few treats to quiet your pig down, but guess what that does? Reinforces that if they whine and cry, you will get up and get them a treat, so we have come up with some other activites to keep your pig stimulated when they aren't able to be outside. Despite mother nature's plans, it is still important for both their mental and physcial well-being for to exercise our pigs. Sometimes that means exercising indoors. Maybe you have noticed your pigs eagerness and willingness to particpate with training is great for the first 15 minutes, but then your pig just wants treats, that is because just 10-15 minutes of mental stimulation, sometimes that really makes them focus, concentrate and process information is equivalent to physcially exhausting 30 minutes of moderate exercise. So if your pig is stuck inside, try exercising the brain in additon to the body.
1. Do not give your pig massive amounts of treats because your pig is screaming, instead, work on training. Work on obedience training. Teach your pig a new trick and reward accordingly. Sit and spin are easy tricks for pigs to learn and even more fun to watch. Click here to go to our training page to learn how to teach some of these tricks. One piggy mama (Jaharia Zamora with Blue the pig) even wrote out instructions on how she was able to teach her pig colors. Not only do these things strengthen the bond and communication you have with your pig, but now you have something to show your friends and family. Mothers bragging rights.
Some people use books or videos to learn, but your pig may not think like other pigs and some of the tips may leave you confused. Watch your pig, look at how he/she reacts to certain circumstances and create a plan that works for you and your pig. Try to keep training limited to 15 minute intervals though. Once your pig has lost interest, stop, but end on a positive note! If your pig hasnt mastered the trick you are trying to teach before your session ends, go back to a trick your pig HAS mastered and stop the session after having your pig do that particualr trick so he/she will remain excited about the next session. Pick it back up later in the day or even another day.
2. Create an indoor obstacle or agility course. Agility tools can be purchased online and at some pet stores. What these tools do is provide you with basic/consistent items to use for training. Most of these prepackaged kits contain small orange cones, a tunnel of some kind, sometimes a limbo type bar you could use to teach your pig to hop over or crawl under. You can certainly use items you already have to accomplish the same thing, but these kits contain items designed specifcally for this purpose. Consistency is key! You must continue to use the same tools over and over again for your pig to "get it" and understand what he/she is supposed to do. Naturally, since pigs are extremely food motivated, treats work as rewards. You do NOT have to give massive amounts of treats for your pig to master these things. They will work just as hard for 1/4 of a single cheerio that they will work for a handful.
3. Use the forced indoor time for grooming. I realize alot of people have limited indoor space dedicated soley to their pig, so placing a blanket down to "collect" loose hair or dead skin, perhaps even hoof nails as you trim them is ideal. Rubber brushes work wonders on loosening up dry skin and helping to remove it. You can purchase these at most pet stores. If your pig has exceptionally dry skin, you may need to take it a step further and provide supplements or you can check out our page dedicated to helping those who are battling dry skin which is so common in pigs. You can check that page out by clicking here. We also have pages for hoof trimming which you can read through by clicking here. If you are interested in giving your pig a bath but not sure how to go about it, click here to learn more about bathing your pig.
4. Use a treadmill for your pig. Pigs must remain mobile. Pigs that tend to lay around are at risk for pneumonia (just like people) and also chronic constipation. Gut mobility has alot to do with overall diet, water consumption, but also general mobility. Pigs that do not move around alot typically have more constipation issues. When you are already having a difficult time with your pig being stuck inside the house, the last thing you want to do is complicate that by tacking on constipation. Try your pig on a treadmill. You may have to entice them alittle to get it started by using air popped popcorn as a motivator and starting off at the slowest speed possible. Some pigs will not like this and will hop off, so be sure to have someone for both sides and behind the treadmill to prevent your pig from being injured should he/she not catch on immediately.
5. Use treat brain games, puzzles and/or treat dispensers to help exercise while also being rewarded. Some more complicated or complex toys are available on Amazon.com and can range from beginners to pigs who easily master simple puzzles. Please start off with easy puzzles, allow your pig to master those before trying more advanced puzzles. Do not set your pig up to fail.
6. Scent games and hide and seek. Essentially this is hiding a treat in your home and letting your pig look for it. You can use a rooting box to acheive the same thing. Rooting boxes are some kind of box, large enough for your pig to get in and out of, that you can fill with ball pits balls (easily found at Walmart or Amazon) or anything lareg enough for your pig NOT to swallow and sprinkle in some oats or air popped popcorn (unsalted/unbuttered) and let your pig have a blast!
7. Phone books. I never knew how great these were until my pig found one in my house and had a ball ripping it to shreds. She quickly learned that ripping paper makes an awesome sound and although sometimes she eats a littleof the paper, normally I find wads of paper she has spit out later on in the day. I like phone books because I know the paper inside in super thin and poses very little risk to cause obstructions. The video above is one I found that demonstrates how much pigs can have with paper.
8. Play with your pig. Watch a movie with your pig. You would be quite surprised at how much your pig just wants to sit with you and have belly rubs. Quality time spent with your pig is never wasted time.
9. Use what is available to provide entertainment. Harley was kind enough to send a video of her pigs "bobbing for apples". This is a great example of something anyone can do for their pigs. Be sure to make your pig does actually get rewarded, frustration can easily turn into anger/aggression, so make sure whatever you're using is appropriate for your pig and your pig is able to acheive the ultimate goal.
10. Take lots of pictures and videos and create something unique and fun! As you are working with your pig, create a video and show others what worked for you. Take notes and wrote something up that can be shared from one pig mama to another. (We are always happy when others reach out to us with ideas and videos and would be delighted to add them to the website). Or create something fun just for you. You pig will only be 6 months old once, or 10 years old once, so capture these memories so you can cherish them forever.
Any of these activites can be done indoors and provide your pig with hours of entertainment. We will be adding much more content to our enrichment page, so check back to see if there are any new activites you can try with your pig! Feel free to check it out now as well. You can do so by clicking here. If all else fails, send us your pig shaming pictures to be featured in our next pig shaming movie! And smile, that's just how pigs roll. We have ALL been there....
We have decided to add a monthly blog addressing the top 10 searched terms/phrases for the website. This will obviously vary from month to month, but some are searched month after month and to be sure everyone's questions are being addressed, we thought it would be helpful to post a monthly blog discussing these terms and phrases. If there is information that you need or want, please let us know if it isnt already addressed on the website and we can build a page full of as much information as we can find about any particular subject. We add content to the website almost daily, so if you do not see it now, it may be added tomorrow.
Number 1 searched term: Pig penis. seriously? LOL. Well a picture is worth 1,000 words. You can learn more about pig anatomy by clicking here. Yes a pigs penis is shaped like a corkscrew. It is a sight that cannot be UNSEEN once seen.
Number 2 most searched term: Pig attacks dog.
This search is more serious. Intact pigs tend to be more rambunctious than a more mature of altered pig. A pig that is aggressively or even playfully trying to "attack" a dog is going to be a problem. This is NOT a safe situation. Family dogs, dogs that have grown up with children crawling around on their back, dogs that are normally very chill and laid back, small dogs, big dogs, lap dogs and really ANY dog has the ability to severely injure or KILL a pig. Especially a piglet. Please do NOT leave a pig and dog alone unsupervised. It's dangerous to have them together while you are standing there in some cases, it only takes a couple of seconds to change your pigs life forever. Please remember that. Dogs are predators and pigs are prey aninals. Click here to read more about the dangers of pigs and dogs.
Number 3 most searched term: Full grown chipmunk pig.
This is an easy one. A "chipmunk" pig is a pig that has likely been crossbred with a feral pig which is where they get the "chipmunk" stripes. There is no breed of pig called chipmunk. Feral pigs are small pigs normally and the stripes do not remain as they mature into adult pigs. But, again, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a feral cross piglet and the same pig as an adult pictured below.
Number 4 most searched term: My pig will not sleep in its new house.
Pigs are routine animals and naturally untrusting. New houses or crates or rooms will need time to be explored before your pig will likely utilize them. If you have a new house for your pig, be sure your pig is able to get into the house without having to duck down or kneel. Make sure your pig doesnt have to take big steps to get inside if it is off the ground, as this may literally be preventing your pig from being able to get inside. If the new house isn't on stable ground, your pig will likely not go inside. Structures need to be stable without any kind of rocking. Pigs like stability.
If there is a house outside your pig refuses to go in to and has been in there before and suddenly will not go inside, check the house. Be sure there are no spiders that may have bitten your pig. Be sure straw/hay or whatever you're using inside for insulation isn't full of mold or mildew. Be sure the flooring isnt slippery or contanimated with anything that is causing your pig to slip when trying to enter the house. Be sure to routinely check the outside structure for signs of other animals getting inside. There have been times when pigs refuse to go in outside structures because other animals have defectaed or urinated inside their bedding. (and other similar things)
Number 5 most searched term: Why does my pigs skin turn red?
Well, there are multiple answers to that question. 1st, is your pig itchy? Does your pig have a fever or any skin lesions? Is your pig eating, drinking, peeing and pooping ok? These are the very basic questions that need to be answered to narrpw that down to something more manageable. Red skin can be something as simple as sunburn (because pigs do tend to love to sunbathe) or something more serious like a skin infection or even parasites/mites.
If your pig doesn't normally have red skin and the skin turns red in color, there is an issue and that needs to be addressed. It doesn't mean it will cost you 500.00 in vet bills, but a vet intervening may very well save your pigs life. If the questions are all in line and your pig is eating, drinking and eliminating waste ok, then it may be parasite control that needs to be done to clear up inflammed or red skin. But this is addressed on a case by case basis. If there is a fever, this normally means there is an infection or at least a systemic response which indicates your vet will need to be contacted. Everything is not an easy fix and there are many issues we cannot help you with because a pig NEEDS to be seen by a licensed professional and treated with specific medications/treatments. Click here to read about common illnesses pigs may have or contract. Some of these illnesses/diseases do affect the skin, however, red skin typically indicates swelling and/or possible infection which could potentially be a host of things. Again, your vet would be the number one person that should be advising you with regards to your pigs health, but there are some non life threatening issues that can easily be addresssed.
Number 6 most searched term: Why does my pig not eat and just lay there?
A pig that isn't eating is most likely a sick pig. It is possible that a pig is not hungry, but to be completely honest, that is rare. If a pig has gorged on food, such as another pets food or the trash, your pig may have a belly ache and skip a meal, but a pig that is not eating is more of an emergency in my opinion. I would check for a fever and call your vet. To help you better determine what may be wrong, we have a health sheet that you can literally fill out to help you when you call you vet with answers to questions your veterinarian may ask versus you not having complete information. This form can be downladed and printed off as many times as you'd like. It is simply a form to help you gather information so you can look for common factors seen in certain diseases or to help you answer your vets questions. You can find that form by clicking here.
Number 7 most searched term: What causes black spots on my pigs body?
GREAT question! Pigs can develop freckle like spots that are nothgin to be concerned about. HOWEVER, pigs can also develop spots that grow and become asymetrical which need to be addressed. As we stated earlier, pigs tend to like to lay in the sun, we know the sun has powerful UV rays which can lead to skin cancer and your pig is no exception to that. White pigs are more susceptible, but ANY color pig can develop melanoma which will need to be removed and treated. It is highly treatable and often curable when treated in early stages. Cutaneous melonoma primarily appear on the skin and may develop metastases to lymphatic tissues and organs. This is a process you won't actually see on the surface, so any unusual spots with irregular borders need to be marked with a pen or marker (to detect growth or spreading) and maybe a phone call to your vet to make them aware and see if they feel like it is anything that needs to be addressed ASAP. They may have you monitor the skin for several weeks before they intervene or they may make an appointment for you sooner than later. These types of skin cancers can be genetic in nature, so be sure to ask about any issues with this when obtaining your pig. Some people will be up front and honest while others will not, so just know that it is a possibility. Not all cancers have large tumors on the surface, some grow rather quickly while others are doing damage internally that you aren't even aware of. Treat unusual lesions or spots as you would your child. If you would take your child to the doctor based on something you see, you should be doing the same for your pig. Click here to read more about skin issues and pigs.
Number 8 most searched term: How much should a ** week old pig weigh? (Multiple searches for various ages)
Each pig will grow at their own rate. Some pigs who have suffered from disadvantages such as the "runt" may be smaller than their siblings from the same litter. However, my vet told me that most pigs should grow at a rate of 1 pound per week for the first year. (which blows the 20 pound micro mini teacup pig myth out of the water) Even runts normally catch up to their siblings once able to eat a healthy portion of food over a period of time. Pigs will absolutely fight for the best milk producing teat and the stronger bigger pig normally has been feed with the best producing teat while the others fight for the less producing ones. Pigs have growth spurts, some have multiple spurts when they will grow substantially taller and longer over a short period of time. Please do not judge a pig based soley on weight though, pigs should be judged on their overall body score. The charts that determine healthy versus unhealthy or what a pig "should" look like aren't meant for piglets. Piglets NEED food to grow at a nice steady rate and develop a strong immunity and great bone structure. Restricting food at this stage can cause serious issues in the long run. Stunting the growth will eventually kill a pig. Pigs who are super tiny and a year old most likely will never see their 5th birthday and as we all know, healthy pigs that have been spayed/neutered and properly cared for can live more than 20 years, so a pig passing away at 3 years old is NOT normal. You can click here to read more about nutrition and pigs. If you want to see realistic sizes of mature or growing pigs, we have a page dedicated to that as well that you can see by clicking here.
Number 9 most searched term: Can mini pigs be outside during the winter?
Of course they can. A lot of pigs live outside full time. When given the appropriate accomodations, pigs can definitely live outside or spend most of their day outside. They still need outdoor time during the winter months. If you do not have appropriate outside accomodations, you can allow your pig to spend short amounts of time outside. Do NOT leave your pig outside in the cold with no way to warm up and no structure to block the wind. Pigs can get frostbite, pigs can get cold, pigs can get illnesses that derived from being outside in the cold temperatures. Start by having a good structure that is free from drafts with something on the inside acting as an insulator like straw or hay. Be sure that your pig is able to easily get access to this space by building a ramp or some kind of access that larger pigs can use. It is best to have houses off the ground or on a concrete slab for sturdiness. Pigs usually won't go into a structure that shakes. They do not typically like spaces they havent had a chance to explore. If you are using hay, pigs will eat hay (which is fine) but you will need ot be sure the hay isnt rotting away potentially poisoning your pig when they are eating it. Be sure to check the house often as stated above for signs that other animals may be entering, sleeping or using that space. Heat lamps can be safely used in large spaces, but using a heat lamp in plastic houses or when the space is limited can burn your pig or cause fire. There are heating/cooling systems that can be installed to provide your pig with heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. I purchased one from Climate Right Air which is a pet house heating/cooling unit. It was easily installed and sits outside of my pigs house like my household condensor unit with duct work from the unit to the outside of the house and vents on the inside. The unit I purchased was around 600.00, it wasn't the cheapest nor the most expensive, but middle of the line. It has the capacity to heat/cool up to 400 square feet which is plenty for the structure built for my pig and her outside time. Even without this type of unit, there are plenty of ways to winterize the space for your pig. Click here to read more about winter time issues and pigs including ideas on how to create a warm space for your pig.
Number 10 most searched term: Can mini pigs eat....(several different substabces/items searched)?
Pigs can pretty much eat anything humans can eat. Not everything is ideal or good for them just like everything available to us isn't good for us. Mini pigs should be feed a diet using a pelleted mini pig feed such as Mazuri brand (which is made by Purina), some people prefer Purina Sow, Champion feed brand is milled and sold by Ross Mill Farms, Manna-Pro is another well known brand of pig feed and veggies and occasionally fruits. Giving pigs candy and foods that are high in sugar content is setting your pig up for obesity early on and while it is super easy for pigs to gain weight, it is a much different rate for losing it. Pigs do not lose weight by exercising vigoriously. They lose weight by reducing the amount of calories they eat compared to how many calories they are buring off. Sometimes it is a matter of changing the times a pig is fed, such as feeding earlier in the day so they have the opportunity to burn off the calories, or reducing the volume fed. Increasing the roughage is a great way to provide essential vitamins while also increasing fiber which makes them feel fuller for a longer period of time. Roughage is also a great way to keep the GI tract functioning as it is supposed to. Low fat, low calorie treats can be used for training, but EVERYTHING additonal fed to your pig needs to be in moderation. Moderation is always key. Air popped popcorn is a great training treat, but your pig does not need handfuls of nonsalted, nonbuttered popcorn. They will usually do the same trick or same action for 1/2 of ONE piece of popcorn that they would do for a handful. Do not give alot of extras and then you will never have to reduce the amount later on. Click here to see a list of foods that are "pig approved" as foods that are not harmful for pigs. Again, this list is only a guide, you cannot feed your pig strawberries everyday for months and think that is adequate nutrition because it isn't. This is a list of foods that you can add to their meals IN ADDITION to the pelleted feed.
These were the most commonly searched phrases for the month of December. We will keep this blog going month after month to keep you informed of what is being searched. Some of the terms will remain the same, so we will likely include the phrase, but not elaborate every month. The website stores the information that is searched and gives us a list daily, so keep searching! If there is something particular that you want or need to know more about, don't hesitate to email us or contact us via our Facebook page for a more immediate response.
What is a mini pig?
The word "mini" has become the standard to differentiate between farm pigs and the smaller breeds like potbellied pigs. While that term has been accepted, I fully agree that it can be misleading to uneducated people who were never prepared for ANY sized pig. Mini is simply a class of pigs, not a breed of pigs. Potbelly is a breed. Kune is a breed. And in comparison to farm pigs, they are indeed mini. I also think that term is commonly used because most pigs are mixed breeds. They aren't any "purebred" potbellied pigs anymore. They've been mixed with ferals and kunes and other real breeds, so mini sounds better than mutt pigs. There are breeds of dogs, but when you have several breeds that are bred, what is the offspring called? What if a Dalmatian and Chihuahua breed? A Dalhuahua? How about a Saint Bernard and German Shepherd? A Saint Shepherd? Most are referred to as "my dog", no breed attached. But, the word mini will likely continue to be used to catergorize the actual breeds of pigs that someone as trying to describe as smaller than a farm type pig. Now micro and teacup and nano and pocket and micro mini? Those are unacceptable descriptions, not only are they flat out lies, but they are completely misleading. We started this website because people were searching for "mini" pigs and it made sense to name the website a commonly searched term so it showed up when anyone was looking for info for their mini pig. However, once they actually read our website, even on the home page, it let's people know why it's called mini pig info, and how that term by itself can be misleading. We dedicated a page on the website to show others what realistic sizes of "mini" pigs are. You can see their stories and pictures by clicking here.
I would much rather have started a website called www.MyPigWasSupposedToBeMiniButEndedUpBeingAFatass.com, but that was obviously too much for people to type in the browser and also not something people would be searching for. I do not condone, support or endorse breeding, though admittedly, before I even knew about pig rescues, I purchased my pig. Had I known there were people out there that brought in pregnant pigs and worked with pigs so they could be adopted? I never would've purchased the love of my life that I have now.
I do understand that some want a piglet and not a grown/mature pig. You don't have to buy a pig from a breeder if you want a piglet. Pig rescues have piglets. There are rescue networks that know about piglets that need excellent homes. There are people who have purchased piglets that quickly found out they weren't prepared for a pig and that piglet now needs a new home. Trust me when I say, piglets aren't always fun. Are they cute? Absolutely! But they are hard work. There is typically a process to adopt a pig versus buying one from someone who only cares about money. The people who have dedicated their time, resources and homes to foster these pigs have a legitimate concern about where they will go. They are emotionally vested in these pigs. So, while it may be "easier" to simply buy a pig, you are rewarding someone for bringing more potentially unwanted pigs into the world which keeps the process going and going. NOBODY can guarantee the health of your pig. Not a breeder, not a rescue, no one. ANY pig can become ill, any pig can carry traits passed along from many generations before that aren't dominant genes in other siblings or the parent pigs. If size is of the upmost importance for a pet, then a pig is likely NOT the pet for you, however, if there are city/county restrictions on the sizes of pets/pigs that are allowed, your best bet would be to rescue an older pig that is "fully grown" so there are no surorises. Just keep in mind, while the growth plates in the bones will eventually close and your pig may not get taller or longer, your pig will continue to gain weight if the diet isn't providing the amount of calories going in as the calories they're using in everyday life. Diets constantly have to be adjusted so your pig doesnt become obese. (click here to read more about nutrition) Again, had I known about pig rescues when I purchased my pig, I probably would've gotten a rescue pig instead of purchasing a pig from a breeder. To find a pig rescue, you can look at the list we have created by clicking here.
I've rescued, I've fostered, I've transported, I've volunteered at pig rescues, I've donated time and money to various pig rescues, organizations, charities and will continue to educate, advocate and help in any way possible. I do not believe there are ANY healthy super small pigs, but I do know there are people who have unrealistic expectations that they will find one. Unfortunately, 99.9999% will be disappointed and ultimately need to find that pig a home because that pig grew bigger than the little dainty cute pig they wanted, they don't understand pigs nor do they want to learn how to properly care for one. Those who have a passion for pigs and do everything in their power to help will continue to help and educate people. I truly believe it is a community effort, it's sad that not everyone takes the time to truly learn about these precious creatures BEFORE they get one, myself included.
I was an ignorant first time pig mama and my pig suffered because of that. But sharing our stories and experiences is how we all learn. I humbly shared mine as embarrassing and heartfelt it was. My pig passed away at 9 months old because of an idiot breeder, my lack of knowledge, my vets inexperience and a slew of mistakes. That never should've happened. Although he had a genetic heart defect, likely as a result of inbreeding, I take full responsibility for his death. That is also why I bought every vet book there was, collected information from others and websites and credible people and myself along with people who are much smarter than me, created a website to teach other people everything we know about pigs and how to care for them. We get private messages all day, every day with questions. People email nonstop wanting help with their pigs, they call, we help with every bit of energy we have in us. We cry with those who have sick pigs and mourn with those who lose pigs. We laugh with those whose pigs are trouble makers and brainstorm with those who need advice.
The pig community is a family, a large, sometimes dysfunctional family, but that's no different that my human blood related family. I have learned so much from other pig people and I am quite certain I will continue to learn on a daily basis. I just hate that everyone that is in the community is divided more and more everyday and having to fight with each other when it's not us who are the problem. It's the people who continue to lie, deceive and basically rob people that need to take the brunt of the hatred, not each other. In the meantime, while mini doesn't accurately describe what the size of your pig will be, it does represent a group of pigs that we have all come to know and love. So when someone says there is no such a thing as a mini pig, they're both right and wrong. There is a miniature pig, also known as a mini pig, but these pigs are anything but mini. This term only describes a class of pigs that are smaller than the farm pigs, but these do NOT describe actual breeds of pigs nor the size of the pig you will end up with. You can read more about actual breeds of pigs by clicking here. Do not add a pig to your family if you're not prepared to make a 20+ year committment to a big ball of fun because that is likely what you will end up with. The journey to get there is long and draining, but once your pig becomes part of your family, you will become a parent to an unconventional pet that will steal your heart forever.
There are some days when I look at my pig and the long list of destructive things shes done and think to myself, I do believe I have Satan's daughter living at my house. Then, I look at someone else's situation and realize how lucky I am to still have my pig by my side.
You're upset because your pig tore up your brand new floor? Look at it from another person's point of view. This person truly loved their pig and their pig did the same thing, only their pig ended up with an obstruction that was not discovered until it was too late. Be glad that your pig is still here.
You are not happy with your pig because your pig got into the kitchen cabinets and now none of your cans have labels, so you have no clue what's in them. Looking at it from soneone else's point of view, you'll soon realize that there are so many who have no food, so just to have cans of food, label or not would, be a blessing.
You are super mad because your pig practically destroyed your house while you were at work today. Again, let's look at it from someone else's life, at least you have a home. Some people have suffered great losses and cannot say the same.
There was recently a tragedy in Tenneessee and a wild fire started sweeping across the state. I am sure there were warnings, but obviously not enough time to get prepared for what was about to unfold. One family in particular, the Holme's family, was able to get themselves and most of their pets to safety, but Charles the pig was left behind. I do not want to speculate why he was left or even discuss it, but their entire property is nothing but the remains of what was once standing. NOTHING is left, nothing except for sweet Charles. This pig instictively found mud and somehow burrowed himself in it enough to survive the raging fires around him that left nothing but charred reminders in place of all their worldy possessions. EVERYTHING. Some things werent even recognizable anymore, inlcuding their home and car. But Charles made it. That is almost unbelievable to be honest. Charles did suffer some burns, likely went into shock and has had some issues with his breathing, but he is being cared for by medical professionals and seems to be doing much better as of Rob Holme's latest post.
Please keep in mind, these people lost EVERYTHING. They have no home, no car, no money, no clothes, toothbrushes, food, nothing. They lost it all. If you choose to comment on our blog, please be kind with your words. If you have never carried the baggage that this family now has to carry, don't assume you would know what you would've done and don't assume they didn't try to get him to safety. There have been some really hateful comments on some other feeds about this situation and that makes me sad. This family has endured enough pain, why intentionally try to make them feel worse? You can read about their story by clciking the link below.
Here is another story of survival that I came across. I reached out to Leslie Norton to ask for her permission to include Petunia on our blog about pigs that survived overwhelming circumstances. Here is the story of Petunia.
For 20 years I resisted my daughter's pleas for a pig, but Petunia has proved me dead wrong! We could not imagine life without her. A coworker bought a house in the country and the former owner left two mini pigs there (much to their shock!). Two days after they moved in, one of the pigs gave birth to five piglets! Over the course of the next couple of days, the sow killed four of the babies and they frantically called me about what to do with the remaining piglet. I explained about bottle feeding and newborn care. The next morning, I was handed the baby and told "here....I cannot do this" and so life with Petunia began.
Petunia had a rough beginning. But life didn't continue along on the easy road.
"As life went on, Petunia has obviously remained a part of the family. We live in Denham Springs Louisiana. In August we had a devastating flood. My daughter and I had to evacuate with our dogs in a kayak. We swam to our barn and opened our gates for our horses and goats. We have a beloved pig named Petunia, who were were forced to leave behind. With her short little legs, we thought her only chance was the house, so we put her in before we left not knowing that our place would be under water for five days. In 38 years there we had never flooded. Our hearts were broken to be kept away by the authorities and when we returned, our world was turned upside down. We lost 5 horses, 4 goats, 22 rabbits and over a hundred chickens, pheasants, and peafowl. Our house is being demolished next week actually, but somehow, someway, Petunia survived! Our miracle pig!"
What can we learn from both of these difficult situations? ALWAYS BE PREPARED! The stories above show the slightest glimpse of what these families had to suffer through. I cannot imagine having to make a difficult decison like that.
That leads us to emergency prepardedness. The time to teach your pig how to use a ramp or harness or to crate train is NOT during the emergency, but way before tragedy strikes. This will increase your pigs chance of survival tenfold.
I can't say how I would react to a situation where my pig had to be left behind in a life threatening natural disaster because, thankfully, I have never had that type of circumstance unfold. I can, however, state without a shadow of a doubt, I would struggle with loading my uncooperative pig. Not only is she a big girl, but she also isn't a fan of the car/truck. She is crate trained and I would hope she would be willing to get right in the crate, but...animals have that instinct. They know when things aren't right. They know when there are disasters headed in their direction. I am quite certain that every pig would react differently in these situations. Some may run and hide while others are more comfortable in the house in their safe area such as a crate or bedroom. But what about those who have a lot of land and their pigs are missing or hiding? How would you handle a life or death situation with YOUR pig? Would your pig be willing to get in your car without hesitation? Would you're pig be agreeable to moving into another room easily? If not; this is something we should all be prepared for.
Instead of assuming the worst in people, let's assume a pig was NOT agreeable as many wouldn't be. And the decision to leave ones pig behind was made with a heavy heart. We are all outraged. BUT, when I really think about it, MY pig would be a struggle. MY pig would NOT be agreeable and I would have an extremely difficult time in getting her IN my truck. As it stands, it takes about 3-4 people to get her in the truck. What if I only had 4 minutes to get this done while also in panic mode and trying to think of other life saving items I need to grab. This is tough. This is a tough spot to be in and I cannot imagine having to make that kind of decision. Use other people's tragedy to build a better tomorrow. Help to educate others by formulating your own emergency plan. How would you react if flood waters suddenly came to your back door? What would you do in the event of a tornado? What about fire? If your home was suddenly engulfed in flames, how would you get your pig out?
Now imagine losing everything you have and reading how disgusted people are with you for leaving your pig behind. That is probably the worst part of it is dealing with the aftermath when you have had to make the hardest decisions of your life. Delegate responsibilities to each family member so you can cut the time it takes to get all your animals together and loaded. Practice emergency drills with your family and see how long it takes you to get your animals to safety. Know where you can go, do you have family that you can stay with or a shelter that allows pigs? Keep an emergency supply kit accessible. Keep names and numbers of vets and other important information in an area you can easily get to. Crate train your pig, ramp train and harness train your pig. BE PREPARED because you never really know when you will need to be. It's always better to be overly prepared rather than not ready at all. Learn from others mistakes and try not to judge their actions. Until you have been in a life threatening crisis, you have no idea how you would react. And until you have met their pig and witnessed their interaction and relationship (because lets face it, some pigs have better relationships than others with their human family), don't judge. Know all the facts before you do.
I have joined in and expressed my outrage and disappointment in people when reading about these tragedies in past situations. But, as I said earlier, when I really think about it, I realize I am not truly prepared for an emergency either and that is definitely something I can work on. My pig hates the ramp, hates the stairs I bought for her, but she loves her crate. BUT, Who knows if she would actually get in it when her sense of impending disaster kicked in? Nonetheless, I know this has put it in a new perspective for me and has prompted me to get on the training again and get it done. I don't ever want to be forced to make a tough decision like that, but if I am, I, at the very least, want to know I did everything I could to prepare myself for disaster if it should ever find its way to my home in order to give my pig a fighting chance at survival.
Check out our page that discusses emergency prepardedness in much more detail and let's celebrate the wins! Petunia and Charles are still here with us because they had the desire and will to live. We can ALL learn something though. We can all do better and we can all be prepared. It may all fall apart in the greatest time of need, but it may very well be the extra steps you take now that are what saves your pig later.
We created a list of awesome gifts for the pig lover in your life last year, so we thought we would create a new one for this year. So, what do you get a pig lover? What can you get a pig parent for Christmas? A lot of people are difficult to buy for, but what about those who already have everything? Bet they don't have all of these gift ideas! Keep in mind, there are several pig related charities that are having auctions this month too who will have unique items that you can bid on for Christmas. Mo Money for pigs will have the annual "yule hog" auction (https://www.facebook.com/events/yulehog-starting today 11/28-12/03) starting today and they ALWAYS have awesome gifts! PAL (Pig Advocates League) will also be having an auction soon, so be on the lookout for both of these organizations' auctions!
You will notice that actual pigs are NOT on our list. Anyone who is interested in adding a pig to the family needs to research several things before adding a pig. Zoning, veterinarian support, finanical resources, yard, adequate time needed to care for a pig, etc. Please do not buy a pig as a Christmas gift.
Every pig lover needs a pig butt necklace! This is a beautiful necklace that is sure to please the pig lover in your life! You can get yours by clicking here.
Perhaps the pig lover in your life has EVERYTHING pig related....that just means you need to get creative. How about donating to a pig rescue in their honor? Not only does this help a pig rescue with funding, but sending in a donation in honor of someone else truly shows that you care about pigs and doing this will make any pig lover feel warm and fuzzy inside! Remember, they don't only need money, blankets, hay, feed, housing supplies, amazon gift cards, etc. all make wonderful gifts for your favorite pig rescue. You can click here to see a list of pig rescues.
Pig Pajamas! Every pig lover needs pig PJ's....There are several styles on this website. http://www.cafepress.com/pigs_pajamas
Light up pig? YES PLEASE! http://www.kohls.com/product/apothecary-pig-led
Every pig lover NEEDS pig slippers...http://www.kohls.com/pigslippers
Do you need the perfect shirt to wear when you do NOT feel like going to the gym?
Personalized stuffed animal? Absolutely! (and found on one of my favorite websites!!) https://www.thisiswhyimbroke.com/personalized-stuffed-pets/
Everyone needs a pig pancake pan! https://www.amazon.com/pig-pancakes
Livie creations can pretty much make anything you want...but she already has cute designs available.
Pig art, super cute!
Pig Lamp. LOVE it!
SUPER cute measuring spoons! Get yours by clicking here.
Vintage pig weather vein....definitely a "must have".
Sterling silver pig bracelet.
Ever wonder what hooves might look like on your feet? Now you can see!
A pig chair?!? OMGosh, I have to have one!
This pig console table may be one of my favorites! (F-R-A-G-I-L-E~ that must be Italian. hehe)
Pig rug....super cute!
Totally love this one too! Another cute pig rug...
Rooting rug WITH a jacket? Only at Spamala's Creations!
Pig coasters...perfect to protect your tables from the damaging effects of moisture from cups and they are simply adorable!
Snort life creates stunning looks for pigs; all at reasonable prices. I have purchased several of their outfits for my pig and couldn't be more pleased!
How about building a first aid kit for that pig parent in your life? There are many things that can be included and we just happen to have a list of those things that you can find by clicking here.
Esther the wonder pig's book! Any pig parent needs to read their book. You may find other items in their store that you just "got to have".
Pig eyeglass holder....this is really a cute idea/item.
I don't care how formal your living room is, a pig pillow will always look good!
Pillow covers or even pillows can easily be found by doing a simple google search.
Little pig soaps for your bathroom.
Area patrolled by attack pig. Hilarious! Perfect for the "jerk" pig in your life. LOL
For the wine drinker in your life....We love pigs MORE than wine. lol
Kitchen towels...pig themed....gotta have them.
Bookmark pig butt.
Pig accent wallpaper, yes please!
Trinket pig jewelry box...
Metal pig decor...this can be added to your favorite wall or added to something else to create something pig inspired!
Pig drawer pulls. You can add these to your favorite piece of furniture to make it something really special!
How about that person who is having a difficult time with his/her pig? What about paying for a consultation service for them with a behavioral consultant? Ross Mill Farms provides a service like this where Susan "the pig whisperer" Magidson may be able to help!
EVERY home with a pig should have a sorting panel accessible.
Super cute mason jar with pig...because you really can't have too many pig items.
Pig tea kettle! Almost too cute to actually use...
Peppermint pig- who can say no to pig candy?!?
For the pig lover who likes to drink in your family....A pig flask!
A caster pig hook, perfect for a bathroom or even a living room.
Stunning pig plates, the perfect addition to any pig themed home!
No house is complete without a pig snow globe.
Technically you can use these magnetic keychains to keep your keys in one spot!
I just want to be a stay at home pig mom mug...
Crazy pig lady t-shirt....
Pig flatware caddy. Super cute!
Pig wine cork!
Have a personalized portrait drawn by one of the talented artists we have listed by clicking here. Look for artists. The one listed above was done by Shannon Ivins and her store can be found by clicking the following link. https://www.etsy.com/pet-portrait-mini-original-oil-painting
Snoozer pet beds. PIGS LOVE THESE!
If you aren't able to have a pig where you live or this just isn't the right time, sponsor a pig at one of the many pig rescues. (You can click here to see where the pig rescues are located and how to get in touch with them) If you want that "pig fix" plan a trip to visit one of the pig rescues close to you and volunteer your time to help them out for a day. For anyone who can't have a pig of their own, this type of experience is as close as you can get to having one of your own!!
We will add to the list as we find more pig appropriate gifts, but this is a great list to start searching for awesome gifts for ANY pig lover in your life!
As of this January (2017) any use of antibiotics in food or water WITHOUT a veterinarian is NOT allowed. This is called the veterinary feed directive. Now, yes this is associated with what we have heard for years, about feeding antibiotics to food animals for growth, increased body mass etc. However, this blankets ALL ANIMALS even BEES! Your pig, chicken, or pet rat is INCLUDED! So, anyone that self treats their pets, can be effected by this.
There are 2 parts to this. One is a list of drugs commonly placed in food. Regardless of commercial feed or not, you can't do it without a veterinarians ok.
This second list is for water. So any drugs bought OTC at a feed store that is on this list you can no longer add to water without a veterinarian.
Written by Dr. Kerri Cooper-Bailey, DVM
These are not directed at people who have extenuating circumstances that have to find a new home for their pig. These ARE directed at those who buy a pig despite being given the facts and warnings, but refuse to listen. While I should not judge others and their reasons, some of these excuses are so stupid that I wish there was a greeting card line to address this problem. Some of these people would definitely be getting one from me.
Our names are Brittany Sawyer and Nicole Cox and we are pig parents, pig advocates and also the authors of the "Dear Pig Whisperer" blog. Follow our blog that will feature topics to help you become the best pig parent you can be...along with some other fun things. We will also feature guest bloggers from time to time who want to share their life experience or knowledge with anyone who is interested in learning.