Like a cat's whiskers, a pig's snout provides the animal with heightened senses to navigate and interact with the environment, and is especially designed for rooting in the ground in search of food. Under natural conditions, pigs may spend 75% of their daily activity engaged in rooting and foraging for up to 6-8 hours a day. Maybe some of your pigs do not get to spend that amount of time outdoors being a "pig", if not, you may notice some rooting activity going on INSIDE the home.
Pigs also have 3-4 times more tastebuds than humans: "The pig differs, however, from most mammals in the number of taste buds, which exceeds most species, including the human... The discrepancy between the human taste apparatus and that of the pig becomes even more evident when one compares the 1600 human fungiform taste budswith the 5000 found in pig. As a result of this, the pig tongue has three tofour times more taste buds than the human tongue (J. Anim. Physiol. a. Anim. Nutr. 82 (1999), 8–24 Receipt of Ms.: 12. 10. 1998© 1999 Blackwell Wissenschafts-Verlag, BerlinISSN 0931–2439)." Pig owners should keep in mind that mouthy/biting behavior in pigs, especially young pigs, goes right along with rooting/nosing behavior and isn't necessarily related to aggression. Toddlers explore with their hands- pigs explore with their mouths and snouts!
If your pig isn't getting the appropriate amount of time outdoors to root around and be a pig, you may notice areas INSIDE that your pig is treating as their own rooting ground. They have the need to satisfy this desire to root, if they cannot go outside and dig in the dirt, they will find other ways to root.
Pigs will root and dig **PLEASE DO NOT PUT A RING IN YOUR PIG'S SNOUT!!!!! If you want a pristine yard, do NOT get a pig! Part of being a pig parent is understanding that they NEED outside time and WILL dig and create holes in the yard. If you need to, create a space for your pig to dig, but do NOT punish your pig for acting like a pig.
Nutrition and Feeding
Good nutrition is essential for a healthy pig. Nutrients in pig foods should provide what is needed for metabolic body processes and should help fight off disease and provide the body with what it needs to function properly.
Proper feeding habits with nutritious food on a regular schedule can prevent:
Improper feeding habits can cause or contribute to:
Many animals die each year from such diseases. Avoid table scraps, high fat foods, and foods that cause choking. Your pets should be offered foods developed for them or recommended by your veterinarian. Please see our nutrition section for pig appropriate foods by clicking here.
Provide Plenty of Clean Water
All animals, especially the very young and the very old, are susceptible to dehydration and kidney disease if deprived of water, quickly leading to serious complications. Water deprivation has claimed many pigs’ lives over the last several years. ALWAYS be sure to have a fresh water source for your pig. Click here to read more about water deprivation and treat should this occur.
Nutritious food and clean, fresh water are important to your pig's health!
Avoid Vigorous Exercise after Meals
Vigorous exercise after meals can lead to a life-threatening condition called bloat, which can technically happen to many different species of animals. With early and aggressive medical and surgical treatment, 80% or more of these patients survive this horrible condition. I have heard of this in other animals, especially larger breed dogs, but given the pigs anatomy and sudden hyperactivity they sometimes have, I thought it was important to at least mention this here as a possibility so you are aware.
Unsafe situations may occur in your pig's surroundings, even with animals that are confined to the house or an outside run. A responsible pet owner should always have control of their pig and their pig's environment. Injury or death after being hit by a car or being attacked by another animal can be prevented if your pig is properly controlled and/or properly contained. Your pig may be injured or shot if allowed to wander unrestricted. Controlling your pig and providing a safe home can eliminate several dangerous situations. Remember, dogs are natural enemies to pigs. Click here to read more about the dangers of dogs and pigs.
Animals usually have more problems in hot environments than in cold. Pigs can suffer heat prostration and die in a short period of time, even minutes, under severe conditions. Good ventilation is vital. Animals typically cool themselves by panting, which becomes inefficient in extreme heat, poor ventilation, or when dehydration causes a lack of moisture on the tongue. Panting is NOT how pigs cool off. Pigs need an area that is shaded and/or a fresh water source like a kiddie pool to cool off in. Some pigs will stay inside the poorly ventilated house outdoors because they feel safe in there, so be sure to check up on your pig often in extreme weather. If it is absolutely necessary to leave your pet in the car, even for a short time, keep the windows partially open. In the summer, the car's interior can quickly rise to over 150°F, and your pet's body temperature may rise to 110°F or more, causing irreversible brain damage and/or death within minutes. It is NOT advisable to leave your pig in the car for any amount of time unsupervised. Click here to read more about seasonal safety and pigs and the importance of cooling systems and providing an outlet for your pig to cool down.
Your pig(s) need room to move around safely to get exercise. Provide an area with adequate room, shelter, and bedding that can be cleaned. Lots of space to exercise, some toys, and clean, comfortable bedding are some simple things that can add years to your pig's life. Outdoor time is especially important so your pig has the opportunity to be a pig. Pigs need to root and play in the dirt and when pigs are not given this opportunity, they tend to have behavioral problems and have been known to be quite destructive. Click here to read more about enrichment ideas for pigs.
Confinement created by a harness getting stuck on something can potentially lead to your pig being choked by the leash or poorly fitted harness. Do NOT leave harnesses on pigs and let them out for the day. Don’t put a harness on a pig and leave the pig in your home for the day. If there will not be someone home, take the harness off. Click here to find a pig specific harness to avoid ill-fitting harnesses.
Remember to have ID on your animal; people will usually return your pet if your phone number is provided. Also, if your animal is injured and transported to a veterinarian by someone else, the doctor can reach you for medical decisions.
Proper identification tags and/or microchips will help you recover your pet if he wanders off.
Electric cords should be inaccessible to pets, especially in piglets, which tend to chew on anything. A bite through the insulation can result in a serious burn, fluid accumulation in the lungs, or death.
Dangling electric cords are an irresistible (but dangerous) temptation to a playful piglet. Make sure all cords are inaccessible!
Many common household items can cause your pet to choke:
These items should be kept away from pets, as ingesting them may cause foreign body blockages or injuries to the esophagus, stomach or small intestine. Make sure that small household items are kept in a place that your pig(s) can't reach! Click here to read about how to potentially save your pigs life in an emergency situation like this by clicking here.
This is not optional, this is a must for a pig parent. Intact pigs can be unpredictable, males tend to smell, both usually have some form of behavioral problems and both sexes are at risk for developing potentially life threatening tumors in the reproductive organs. Spay and/or neuter while they're young. You'll be glad you did it. To read more about these procedures, click here to see our page dedicated to answering any questions about these life altering procedures.
Accidental poisonings can be tragic. Guard against ingestion of:
Ask a professional before administering drugs of any kind to your pet. Do NOT give activated charcoal or induce vomiting without first consulting a vet or pet poison control center for instructions. Click here for a more complete list of pig toxicities as well a information about activated charcoal, mineral oil, the use of medications to induce vomiting, etc.
Animals must be contained while riding in a car or truck. Pigs should be contained in such a way that he/she isn’t given free roam of the vehicle. This is not only for your safety, but also your pigs safety. Click here to read more about traveling with your pig and the regulations you MUST follow when crossing state lines.
What happens if you should need to slam on the breaks? Your pig will fly out of the seat onto the floor or even worse, through the windshield if not contained. We recommend that pigs not ride in the back of trucks. In some states it is illegal for a animal to ride in the back of a pick-up truck. Besides the risk of injury from a fall, the pig may be killed in traffic. Even crated pigs have a risk of being hit with highway debris riding in the back of uncovered trucks.
Regular Veterinary Check-Ups
Regular veterinary examinations will help avoid some preventable disease problems and permit early detection of others, thus facilitating treatment. Your veterinarian should see your pet at least once a year. During the check-up regular vaccinations are given and the animal is given a physical exam, a dental check-up, and teeth cleaning. Now is also a good time to discuss pet insurance. There are a couple of insurance providers that will cover pigs. These policies typically cover wellness check ups and sometimes even spays and neuters! Click here to be directed to the known companies that will cover mini pigs. You should also discuss dental care and hoof care during these wellness check up visits. You can click here to read more about hoof maintenance.
Your pet's annual physical examination is vital for continued good health.
Parasite control needs to be done routinely, every 6 months is a good schedule for regular deworming and parasite treatment. Click here to read more about parasite control. (Remember, this should be done using BOTH medications, Fenbendazole and Ivermectin to truly cover all the potential parasites)
Many dangerous infectious diseases can be prevented or lessened in severity with a proper vaccination program. No vaccine is 100% effective, but regular vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent such diseases. Click here to read our page dedicated to discuss vaccinations.
Approved vaccines are available for the following diseases: (Talk to your vet about what would be appropriate for your pig)
With so many formerly deadly diseases now preventable by vaccination, you owe it to your pig to make sure she is up on her booster shots. Consult your veterinarian for the vaccines needed in your area and a proper vaccination schedule.
Dental problems that go untreated not only cause problems in the teeth and gums, but the effects may extend to other areas of the body. Click here to read more about dental care and pigs.
Good oral hygiene and regular veterinary examination and treatment can eliminate dental problems.
Dental health and good overall health go hand in hand.
Prevention: A Final Note
Seek professional veterinary help immediately if your pet suffers an accident or illness. Getting help early prevents complications and more suffering. Waiting can only result in undue worry, serious deterioration of conditions, and make recovery more difficult. To find a vet that will see your pig, please reference our vet list with more than 1,000 vets that will see pigs as patients. you can access that list by clicking here.
There are a few laws that affect pet pigs and you may have heard of some of them, but likely were not thinking outside the box to realize there are several more that may apply. You don't have to be a professor at a big University that teaches law to know that you have rules and regulations, as well as laws, if applicable. We have selected a few laws that may apply to you when you have an unconventional pet, such as a pet pig.
1. Wills and Estates Law
There was a case in NY several years back about a dog and the dog parent leaving ALL of her estate to the dog. Although contested, the family was quite shocked to find out that her will was legal and enforceable. The family contested, of course, and although they did win a portion, the bulk of her estate did, in fact, go to her dog. (If I am remembering all the facts correctly). This is an issue for a number of reasons...First, be sure to include your pig in any last will and testament you may have on file, including designation to who will care for your pig once you are no longer here to do so yourself. If you have assets, leave financial support for the care of your beloved porcine friend. Second part is to keep this document updated. It will do no good to name someone who is no longer with us. This is important for anyone who has a pet pig, but probably more-so for the rescue community who have large numbers of pigs that will need to be cared for long after they're gone. Always have back up plans for back up plans.
2. Travel Laws
We have said it before and now saying it again, you MUST check with the state you are traveling into to see what laws/regulations are in effect for pigs in that state. Some states require visible identification, some require blood tests such as brucellosis and pseudorabies before they will permit a pig to cross the state lines, others may simply require a CVI (certificate of veterinary inspection) also referred to as a health certificate. Whatever the regulations are, be sure you follow them. Click here to be directed to the USDA travel guidelines. The reason for these rules and regulations is actually to protect YOUR pig as well as other pigs from disease that can be carried over by an infected pig. This is also why the penalties are so steep for violations of these rules.
3. Zoning Restrictions
Each state is different in their ordinances regarding keeping pigs within city limits. Each county may have conflicting ordinances within the same state, but you MUST follow YOUR city/county/town ordinance. Many people have waged wars with their cities to try and have the ordinance amended to allow pigs to reside within the city limits. Some people have successfully had the ordinance changed or amended and some have not been successful. It is not worth the fight if you can find out beforehand or try and have the ordinance changed BEFORE you add a pig to your family. There is a lot of disappointment and heartbreak when you get a pig, find out the city doesn't allow pigs in the city and then have to find a new home for your beloved pet. Click here to read more about how to check and see if you're zoned to have a pig and also how you can work to change the city ordinance. All it takes is one jerk person to call and "report" you in order to get the wheels of justice moving. Do not get a pig if you have to hide it. That isn't good for you, your family or your pig.
HOA (homeowners associations) can also impact whether or not you are "allowed" to have a pig. Do not sign HOA paperwork that isn't clear on what is traditional and what is not. Sometimes the wording doesn't include or exclude pigs, but you need to be sure of what is included so you can avoid a court case to try and fight to keep your pig.
4. Divorce Law
Pigs are like our children and we will fight to protect them as such. If there are 2 loving pig parents and the possibility y'all will not live happily ever after, try to come to some kind of agreement prior to the nastiness of a divorce to determine who will retain custody of the pig(s). Pets have been included in prenuptial agreements in the past, although typically this refers to cats and dogs, we are pig people, so we encourage you to take in consideration your pigs thoughts and feelings too. Of course, neither kids nor pets can be split into pieces and distributed between the disagreeing parties to a divorce. Therefore, judges are being presented with, and many are approving, shared animal custody or visitation rights for husbands and wives, domestic partners and even roommates when they are faced with pet custody disputes.
5. Corporate Law
It can be big local news when a farmer is caught neglecting or abusing his farm animals. The local humane organizations and the animal control officer might show up and take the cattle, horses or sheep to a rehabilitator or foster home, but there usually isn’t a great deal of money involved. The situation is different, however, when some Fortune 500 company is accused of the same — that’s national news.
At one time, virtually no one had the resources to challenge a big company such as a billion-dollar, publicly held fast-food chain if one of these companies was caught treating food animals in an inhumane way. But now, very well-funded humane organizations and animal rights groups are pursuing (and winning) animal cruelty cases against these very large defendants.
And now that big-money cases and large potential jury awards have begun to revolve around animals, you can be sure that corporate attorneys are generally paying much closer attention to the precise meaning of animal-protection legislation. They want to know every nuance of these laws’ applicability to the millions of food animals under the control of their corporate clients. We see this mainly in the farming community, but there has been abuse/neglect/fraud in the pet pig world too.
6. Bailment Law
This is a legal concept that basically means that when the property of another person is placed in your hands, you have a duty to care for it and return it to its owner undamaged. For example, a "bailment" is created when a valet parks your car or when you check your luggage at the airline counter.
So, in the world of animals, what happens when Mr. Smith drops piggyy off to be groomed one morning at the local pet groomer and Mrs. Smith picks piggy up in the afternoon? There was never a problem when this happened for piggy’s first few grooming appointments.
This time, though, the pet groomer had no idea that the Smiths have become legally separated. Imagine the horror when Mr. Smith comes in to collect piggy and his pet is no longer there! The grooming business owner might not care that the Smiths are tied up in a terrible legal battle. What she should be concerned about is if she doesn’t carry bailment insurance and now has to defend herself and her business in a lawsuit lodged by Mr. Smith for his “suffering and anguish” attributable to her having relinquished his property - piggy - to someone not authorized to possess the pig. Same thing applies to boarding an animal. When you drop off your pig to be boarded for a week, you expect to return to a healthy and happy pig, what happens if thats not the case? What happens if your boarding facility neglects your pig resulting in your pigs death? They are liable.
7. Personal Injury Law
You may have the Best. Pig. Ever. BUT, if your pig is at a community event and gets agitated because some kid keeps putting their hands in its' face, your pig may headswipe or even bite...are you responsible? Of course you are.
First, be sure your pig is vaccinated against any disease that can be passed via an animal bite, like rabies to lessen the chances of something bad happening to your pig because of an accidental or even purposeful bite. Second, if your pig tends to bite, do NOT do community events! Do not set your pig up for failure by placing him/her in an environment with a lot of people if your pig is socially standoffish. Third, do stand there with your animal and remove your pig from the premises if you can see your pig is frustrated. Place signs on your pigs area cautioning people that your pig will bite if provoked. Do NOT let young children handle your pig without you being present or literally holding the pig while they gently pet the back or leg while your have a firm grip.
However, again, if your pig is not trained and socially inept, do NOT take your pig to events like "kiss the pig" or similar situations where your pig is expected to preform a service or act in a certain way for an audience. If your pig is not used to dealing with the public and seems a bit skittish, you will need to work more with your pig before having expectations of your pig being in the spotlight and being successful.
8. Property Damage
If you are a renter, this may be applicable to you. ALWAYS take pictures and do an inspection before you move in noting any areas of concern. Be sure your landlord knows you have a pig and you have written permission to have a pet pig in a rental home. There may be preexisting damage that your pig didn't do, that you are being blamed for. Pigs dig, pigs root, pigs will tear up walls and floors. Pigs will accidentally break doors where food is stored. Pigs will accidentally remove flooring when they're bored. Just know these things can happen with a pet pig and if you're visiting someone or renting a home, you may be on the line for damages as a result of your pig being in that home.
Always keep an eye on your pig in unfamiliar areas and provide enrichment to bored pigs. This will lessen the chances of destruction caused by YOUR pig and hopefully, in turn, reduce your liability in regards to damage that could be caused by your pig. Always do a routine inspection of the area inside and outside of your house to easily identify possible toxins and removal of these potentially hazardous items from your pigs environment. See our blog from last week that discusses bored pig problems and solutions by clicking here.
We’ve just touched on a few of the basic areas where animals impact the law and vice versa, but there are many others. The message here is that, in a legal sense, owning, caring for or even just interacting with animals has become increasingly complicated in recent years. It pays to be aware of the laws and what your risks and rights are depending on your role and always err on the side of caution when it comes to you and your pig. Always know what the laws are in YOUR area, protect your pig.
We have all been there...you get home from work only to find that your pig discovered that the fridge DOES open...or those spectacular flowers you spend 6 hours planting? Gone.
Did you know pigs can be destructive when they're bored? A lot of pigs tend to get into some mischief when they have nothing better to do or nothing to keep their little minds occupied. So, what is the solution? Enrichment activities for your pig(s)!!
First let's see some destructive behavior from pigs that had too much time on their hands. (Or too much freedom)
We call this "hoarder corner" at my house. Anytime someone is missing something, they automatically know to check hoarder corner.
For some reason, pig love to hear the ripping sound made from fabric as well as paper.
Dirt + pigs will always equal a mess. Maybe there was some kind of treasure in there or maybe he was just curious...nonetheless, those bags were there and within reach, so they were fair game.
So, how do you avoid this?
You will hear many different answers to that question. Probably the most important and common factor, as in these situations pictured above, is that they all occurred indoors. Pigs NEED outdoor time. Not only do they need sunlight to aid in the absorption of essential vitamins/minerals, they need to have a place where they're not penalized for acting like a pig. Pigs like to dig, they like to look for things you may not have known were even there. Pigs have an incredible sense of smell and they use it to their advantage. I assume everyone has heard of pigs being used to hunt for truffles. This dates back to the 15th century and they were able to identify these fungal investments that were 3 feet deep! It was thought that natural sex hormones of the male pig are similar to the smell of the truffles and others said pigs simply love digging for food making them a great source to find the truffles so many were eager to get their hands on. Some have argued that their particular taste for truffles leads to a more devoted beast and ultimately, countries began to prohibit pigs from truffle hunting because they weren't careful diggers and caused damage to actual truffle while digging for it creating a drop in their production rate. Pigs love to dig, that is all there is to it. Taking that ability away from them by not allowing them to have time to root and investigate can lead to behavioral issues and/or destruction in the home.
Make sure your pig has an appropriate outdoor space. If you like having a nice yard, then a pig isn't the right pet for you, unless you can dedicate some separate space for your pig to be a pig. A secure fenced in area is ideal for a pet pig. Plenty of room to run around in and plenty of dirt to dig in is the type of environment a pig will thrive in.
Another important factor is providing a stimulation type activity for your pig. This can be indoors or outdoors. Some love treat dispensers, but some pigs get frustrated and quickly lose interest in them. However, to encourage exercise, as well as positive reinforcement, treat balls are often recommended to help curb a bored pigs mojo. The Kong, Busy ball and Bobalot treat dispensers seem to be a big hit for pigs. (All can be bought on Amazon.com)
Another suggestion heard frequently is puzzle type treat dispensers. These can range from fairly simple to rather complicated. Most treat puzzles are easily mastered by pigs. So, you may not want to invest in super expensive treat puzzles in case your pig quickly catches on rendering that puzzle useless. (Although, old toys can be "new" again if put away for a period of time and reintroduced later on)
Balls seem to make a lot of pigs happy as well. Big balls, bowling balls, sports balls, such as basketballs or soccer balls are all good choices. I will warn you, if you get a plastic ball that can easily be punctured or has a flimsy surface, your pig will likely poke a hole in it and it will deflate. This can cause a potential choking hazard, so be careful to choose a ball that is pet friendly. The example below is a horse product called Horseman's Pride Jolly mega ball and is 30" in size. Pet specific balls can cost little more, but they're made for them specifically and are usually a safer choice. The one below is around 29.99 on Amazon.com.
Oddly enough, one of my pigs favorite things to do is rip through a phone book. These aren't even delivered in my area anymore, so I let her have junk mail and newspaper instead sometimes. But phone books or thin paper can be a way to keep your pig from being bored. They love to hear the ripping of pages and will chew on the paper for a little bit, but they do not typically "eat" it. To be sure, watch your pig and make sure they're not swallowing excessive amounts of paper so there are no complications from letting them participate in this kind of activity. Overall, my pig LOVES this though and would prefer ripping paper to any toy I have purchased for her.
Probably the most important thing you can do is train your pig. Pigs love social interaction, but they only know what YOU teach them. Working with your pig to teach them basic tricks or how to stay using positive reinforcement will take you a lot further than ANY toy or treat dispenser. This is a basic need for pigs and shouldn't be overlooked. Neglecting to train your pig often leads to a pig that displays undesirable behavior. This is NOT your pigs fault, this is YOUR fault. Your interaction with them teaches them manners and respect as well as positive behaviors get rewarded whereas negative behaviors do not. Sit and spin are typically the simplest tricks for pigs to master. Soon enough, your pig will greet you by spinning in circles or sitting because they know they get treats for this type of positive behavior normally. This particular pig, in the video below, had some aggression issues for months prior to him being able to be trained. So once he was neutered and his hormone level normalized, he was obviously a much different pig than he was while we waited for his surgery date. Once trained, he turned out to be one of the best behaved pigs and well-mannered pigs I have ever seen and made a very good pet. To date, according to his pig mom, he is still well mannered and behaved and a "joy" to be around. (FYI, if your pig is intact, sometimes the trouble is based on the fact that they're trying to find a suitable mate. They don't realize that there are no other pigs within that vicinity, so they leave "hints" for others, just in case. Please spay or neuter your pigs!! Click here to read more about those procedures)
Or perhaps work on the command "stay"....this pig knows what she has to do before she gets dinner. This is much more advanced training. It requires a lot of patience since pigs are extremely food motivated to begin with. You must first build the foundation with your pig realizing you are to be respected and what you say goes. Do NOT give in, not even once, because your pig will remember that and continue to test the boundaries hoping that you will just let them eat and won't enforce the rule.
You can work with your pig on very specific skills such as painting pictures. You can then hang these in your home or even donate them to various pig rescues who can auction off one of a kind pieces and help your pig community. This is fairly easy to accomplish. Using non-toxic after based paint and a flat canvas, any pig can be an artist!! Combined with positive reinforcement, your pig will love to paint as much as you love their paintings. I have been doing this with my pig for a couple of years now and although her technique changes with each painting, her art is always a masterpiece.
Creating activities for your pig isn't as hard as it sounds. I have used baby toys as a training tool as well as other child electronics to teach my pig the concept of positive reinforcement. Again, they can quickly master these toys, so you may have to step it up a notch fairly quick after starting your training. My pig learned that the end result was a treat, so she would push the button, twist the button, press the button and slide the button to get a treat. For the easy ones? She would close the pop up pieces and reopen them again and expected her treat, after all, she did it again. The one I used was similar to the one pictured below.
Using household objects or household products to create an activity can be just as good for your pig. PVC pipe are often the product of choice because of their durability. Drilling holes big enough for a treat to fall out of and hanging that from something sturdy can provide hours of entertainment for your pig. This particular picture is from The California Potbellied Pig Association's website. http://www.cppa4pigs.org
Summertime can bring a host of other problems, but one way to keep your pig cooled off and hydrated is to freeze water, with or without other items added in for them to find. But since hydration is so important, using a frozen treat in the heat does create an additional water source for your pig during the hot months. (again, photo is from The California Potbellied Pig Association's website linked above)
An outside agility course can promote exercise as well as disciplined behavior. Agility courses can be homemade or bought as a set from a store, such as this set from Amazon.com. This particular course is around 200.00, but provides you everything you need to set up a working agility course right in your backyard!
Using food as motivation typically works....as long as your pig can actually eat it. This is Harley Swan's video she shared with us last year with a brilliant idea for apples. This was an easier task for one than it was for the other, but nonetheless, a great idea and way to keep your pig busy!
Pigs can bowl, its an activity that they learn the end result is what you're after, so when I was training my pig to "bowl", she would run to the end of the room and knock the pins down with her snout before the ball ever made it down there. Still fun to watch though. A cheap set of children bowling toys are less than 20.00 and can be found at most toy stores or Walmart.
We have a section of the website dedicated to enrichment for pigs. It is available, but will be updated soon, so check back often to see updated ideas and products that you can use to help your pig stay entertained. You can visit that section by clicking here. Sometimes a pig that tends to get in trouble isn't because of boredom at all, but rather persistence. These are the group of pigs that pig proofing was made for. If your pig has plenty of outside time, plenty of "enrichment" to keep him/her occupied but still tends to get into things? Well, your pig knows there is food in that cabinet, or is flat out being defiant. Again, something you can work on using training to teach respect and exactly who is in charge, but you should be sure to keep anything your pig may be tempted to "get into" out of reach or locked away.
Whatever method or technique you decide to use, just do it with consistency. Your pig is likely used to a routine (or would like to be), so taking the time to train and making it a part of your routine will give your pig something to look forward to. Pigs love to learn and explore, give them an avenue to satisfy that craving. If you have additional ideas for enriching your pigs life, we would love to hear about them or see examples. Feel free to send us pictures and/or stories and we can get them added to the website/blog.
Pigs are the new cats?
Uh, no they're not!! When a cute little piglet post is made by a celebrity or someone with some buying influence, I post 3 links. The "teacup" and "micro" myth, PLEASE read before you get a pig, and one of our blogs, what having a pet pig is REALLY like. Hopefully, it resonates....
Far too many times, we see celebrities flaunting their pet pigs and creating quite a ruckus with soooooooo many "OMG, I want a teacup pig!" comments, it literally makes us sick. So where are these pigs now? As always, pigs grieve when they need to be rehomed whether that be they got bigger than expected, the novelty wears off, you don't have the time, you got pregnant, etc. Without proper education, this will likely be the case. You have to know how to care for a pig in order for it to work.There was even talk that piglets were being given away during one of the Golden Globe awards shows (http://www.dailystar.co.uk/showbiz/Golden-Globes-follow-Posh-lead-and-give-away-mini-pigs)...wow. Pigs are used in cartoons, movies, TV shows and even commercials. No wonder everyone wants a pig....
Comedian John Bishop has adopted a rescued pig after his wife “fell in love” with the animal when she watched an RSPCA rehoming video. Thats AWESOME! I can't think of a better way for a family to add a pig to "the herd". Milo continues to enjoy his new home!! http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebrity-news/john-bishop-adopts-rescued-pig
Introducing Dom Joly and Wilbur the pig. Wilbur lives here on my farm in Brockhampton. He moved from Cheltenham where he lived, with a very nice family, in a pink Wendy house in the back garden. When he got to six months old, he announced – in no uncertain terms – that he had outgrown the place: it was basically Babe in the City. Wilbur has two main hangouts here on the farm: his own residence, which is an old room with windows, a fireplace and a little run; and the main house, which he comes into for four or five hours a day. He’s really sociable. He loves to hang out with the dogs – can’t say the dogs feel the same, but I don’t think he lets that bother him.
One of the most famous pet pigs was Max, George Clooney's pig. Max lived to be 18 years old.
Max not only had a good beginning, he led a life of comfort and privilege befitting a Hollywood pet. George and Max have been described as "inseparable" by the celebrity press - which is surely just porkies. But Max was often seen rooting around on set while Clooney was filming and was allowed in the mega-star's bedroom. Max has been blamed for bringing at least two of Clooney's relationships to an end (the model Celine Balitran apparently got the wrong answer when she issued an "It's me or the pig" ultimatum). Clooney even took Max on a trip in John Travolta's private jet. Rest in paradise sweet angel Max....
A tribute to Max: http://www.theguardian.com/dec/06/georgeclooney
Jillian Michaels was accused of using her pet pig as a fashion accessory. A post to Facebook in November 2014 "Dear Santa - a.k.a. Heidi Rhoades All I want for Christmas is a rescue pig. And some foster bees. But that's all. I swear. Oh... and maybe some fencing lessons. But really that's it. Can't I have one. PLEASE!!!!" She must have been a good girl!! Stella has lived for Jillian for a little more than a year. http://www.starwipe.com/article/jillian-michaels-has-pet-pig
Mario Balotelli has raided the piggy bank and introduced the newest member of his family to fans. With his latest amusing purchase, the Italy international has surprised us all yet again with his odd lifestyle choices and bought a pet PIG! Posting a picture on Twitter, Balotelli told his 1.1million followers: 'Finally my little pig arrived! She is only 2 month old! Is a she but i called her SUPER!'
In 2014, he was upset when his pet pig was denied entry into the UK, red tape is keeping the pig from being allowed to move from Italy to England: "Government rules mean to get the black-spotted animal here he must first register as a breeder, then get a certificate of health from an Italian vet before she is allowed to fly."
Still no word about the reunion....no additional pictures have been publicly posted.
Tori Spelling and her daughter and pet pig, Hank. Picture from People pets 07/2011. http://www.peoplepets.com/people/pets
A Quote from her reality show....
"You might have noticed that our backyard farm has grown since last week. We welcomed Hank the pig to our family and our baby blackbird hatched. Hank looks so small on screen. We were told he’d be 25 pounds full grown. Well, he’s now over 100! But we love the guy."
Last that I could find, Hank was sent to a farm where he could "be a pig" a while back.
Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen has had to put his pet pig out to pasture after the animal became too porky. "Romeo was purchased by Stevie Cohen as a piglet, but he grew to be over 150 pounds. Romeo is actually a very domesticated, intelligent and affectionate pig, but recently he started to get a little moody. The family got advice from a vet that Romeo would be better in the company of other animals, so Steve arranged for him to go to a farm to be with other pigs," a source told the Post. Ultimately, the pampered pig got too big for the 35,000-square-foot mansion after his weight grew to 150 pounds. After having this pig as a valued family member for FIVE years, Romeo was sent to a rescue in Florida by private jet. Yeah, that doesn't make you a responsible pet pig owner. This is not his pig, I am not able to locate a picture of his actual pig, but used the picture referenced in the news article instead.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/Hedge-fund-billionaire-forced-send-150--walking-piece-art-pet-pig-farm-fat-family-mansion-despite-having-room.htm
Denise Richards posts about her pig quite often. In 2008, she already had 2 pigs named Charlotte and Bert, but added a 3rd during the season of her reality tv show. This picture was taken after the show aired, but more than 2 years ago....no more pig pics since which isn't a surprise given the problems she and her ex, Charlie Sheen, are having. (via online news)
She ended up breeding her pigs and eventually? You guessed it, dumped them at a pig rescue.
A prized pig owned by Princess Anne was tragically killed by a wild boar after he broke into the pen at her home.The attack came just hours after another wild boar caused an accident which killed a man on the M4, 15 miles away. Anne’s beloved Gloucestershire Old Spot was killed on Tuesday night at her Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire. Rest in peace sweet girl.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/Princess-Anne-Gloucestershire-Old-Spot-pig-savaged-death-wild-boar-broke-pen
Who can forget Honey BooBoo's pig? Glitzy was returned shortly after arriving.
Paris Hilton's "Royal Dandie" guaranteed to weigh no more than 25lbs. haha, yeah right. People with millions of dollars at their disposal can't purchase a "teacup" or "micro" pig. This should tell you something. Thankfully, as of 2016 sources, she has kept her big pig despite outgrowing these ridiculously misrepresented sizes. And guess what? She can afford to not care what anyone has to say about her pig, Princess Piggelette.
Did you know Rupert Grint, Ron Weasley of the Harry Potter series, also has a pet pig?
Buying into trends has its consequences, as Harry Potter star Rupert Grint would know. In the midst of the U.K.’s teacup pig craze, Grint bought a pair of the tiny porkers, which can sell for up to $1,100. However, there was a rumor that Grint was actually ripped off and bought a normal pig instead. In response to the controversy, the actor told NBC in 2010 that the pig was getting “kind of big now. We’ve got him living outside now.” When asked if his pet species of choice is really the most intelligent, Grint replied, “I haven’t really seen proof of that yet.” He named them Stanley and Oscar...sadly, Oscar passed away in 2010. Run free sweet baby.
Sorry Rupert, you got exactly what you paid for...a pig.
Reese Witherspoon was caught piglet shopping....There is no word on whether or not she actually purchased one though. It's been rumored that she did buy two piglets, but I am not able to find proof of that.
In 2010, Joey King visited The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this week and received quite a surprise. Joey revealed that she’s wanted a little pig for a while and Jay surprised her with one! Afterward, she tweeted: I LOVE @jayleno !!!!! I am the luckiest little girl in the whole WORLD! (i’m talking the WHOLE world!) She even named her pig “JayJay” after Jay Leno. Last post about Jay the pig was back in 2012....
Megan Fox gave her pig away in 2012 when he became sexually aggressive. A neuter probably would've worked, but, it is so much easier to just give him away versus doing the right thing.
Miley Cyrus is another high profile person with a pet pig. She was caught snuggling up with a piglet in August 2014. She isn't known for being reliable, but it appears that her pig, Bubba Sue, has been a turning point for Miley. In 2015, she posed naked with her pig for a magazine cover pictured below. I believe, based on some of the news stories, she is learning very quick how difficult it really is to care for our porcine companions.
Here she discusses her Bubba Sue, now renamed "pig pig" on the Jimmy Kimmel show.
Kevin Schmidt from the "Young and Restless" makes regular posts about their piggy friend, Yuma. He added Yuma to his family sometime in early 2012. His brother Kendall has taken a likin' to Yuma as well; often posing with the photogenic porcine playmate.
Ruby Rose has posted some hilarious social media photos of her hanging out with Hazel, the little black and white pig she owns with her fiance Phoebe Dahl since early 2014. Hazel the pig has her own Instagram account too. In October 2015, there was a story done on this couple regarding dinner party they had in L.A. with pigs roaming the lawn...That's a good sign! However, it looks as if this power couple split in 12/2015 and Hazel may be living elsewhere....
Read more: ruby-roses-pet-pig-is-hogging-the-limelight-in-LA/story
Hazel The Pig and Millie's IG account: https://www.instagram.com/hazelthepig_and_millie
Prior IG https://www.instagram.com/hazelthepig
At his mountainside estate in Hawaii, Mick Fleetwood could be mistaken for an eccentric country gentleman, spending quality time with his pet pig, Tilly. Mick Fleetwood is part of the classic rock band, Fleetwood Mac (for those who don't know) In 2012, a story was done and in it reveals he has a pet pig. "Off to one side, a fenced pen with a tasteful wooden shed houses Tilly, an 18-month-old black-and-white potbellied pig that is blissfully excited by the sudden arrival of guests."
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mick-fleetwood-plays-on
David Beckham's wife, Victoria bought him a pair of pigs for Christmas 2009. The couple named them after close family friends, David Furnish and Elton John. They were "micro pigs". haha
No pictures of the pigs could be found though. There was once a video online, but it appears as if even that has been removed....
The latest addition to the Pataky-Hemsworth household is a piglet named Tina. In March 2016, Elsa Pataky - the wife of hunky Hollywood actor Chris Hemsworth - introduced the newest member of the family in a sweet Instagram post.In the endearing picture, the mother-of-three is seen cradling the sleeping piglet in her arms.
Thankfully for us in the pig community, we have a HUGE presence with Esther the wonder pig and Esther's Army to help the world learn more about pigs.
Movies are no better. There are little piglets, as well as big pigs featured in many movies furthering the "I want a teacup pig" trend.
Uptown Girls starring the late Brittany Murphy
National Lampoons Europeon Vacation started off with the Griswalds being "pigs".
Magic Mike featured "Henry the pig" in a few segments.
Winner of the “Special Jury Prize,” “The Lobster” is a deadpan sci-fi comedy-drama set in a world in which lonely people are turned into animals if they’re unable to find a partner within 45 days
Albert from College Road Trip
"Mr. Pig" was reviewed at the Sundance Movie Festival in January of 2016. This movie is about 75-year-old Ambrose (Danny Glover) hiding several things from his daughter on a road trip — at least the fact that he’s losing his hog farm to the bank.
2010’s The Spy Next Door briefly features a potbellied companion.
"Sweaty Betty" 2016 First-time filmmakers Joseph Frank and Zachary Reed tap into a strong sense of place as they follow two sets of characters around the streets, stores and row houses of Prince George's County, Maryland, on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. in this documentary type movie about a 1000lb pig and a pitbull.
How I met your mother, season 6, episode 16 titled "Hooked" featured Carrie Underwood...and a piglet.
Shirley Temple was even pictured with pigs....
The Boost Mobile “Unwronged” pig advertisement.
It doesn't even have to be a movie when models are carrying them down the runways. Piglets & models on catwalk for Korhani Home at Toronto Fashion Week.
Lets not forget, Miss Piggy from the Muppets, Piglet from Winnie the pooh, Porky pig, Peppa Pig, The Lion King Movie, The Barnyard Movie, Chicken Little Movie, Home on the Range movie, Babe, Gordy, Pig's Day Out, Green Acres, Spider Pig from the Simpsons, Maxwell from the insurance commercials, Wilbur from Charlottes Web (and they used 47 piglets to play Wilbur in this movie...a little movie trivia you may not have known), Okkoto, leader of the boars, from Princess Mononoke, George, from the Movie, My brother, the pig, Scruffy from the TV show, Full House, Little Cory from the show Boy meets world....so many pigs featured, there's too many to list! Some are shown in a favorable manner, some are not, but ALL are pigs that we have come to know and love. As long as people keep glamorizing pigs, the hype will continue. If small is what you're going for, you definitely do NOT need a pet pig. Perhaps a guinea pig would be better suited for you?
I am all about pigs as pets, but ONLY for educated and prepared families. Please do your research before running out and getting a pig. Do not let movies and commercials fool you, pigs are NOT easy to take care of all the time.
Why are people fascinated with pigs?
Pigs fascinate people. They always have. Even people who have pigs as pets can tell you about the love/hate relationship they have with their pet pigs. Most of us have experienced both of these feelings, as well as a range of others, sometimes all in the same day. Pigs are anything BUT subtle. They behave in obvious and interesting ways. They are such unusual creatures, a greater extent than most animals, that they capture and hold peoples attention. Anyone who has a pet pig will tell you the same thing. There isn’t a better pet for select families, but, pigs as pets are NOT for everyone. Pig parents are responsible for some of the hype about having an unconventional pet, we tend to post those cute pictures of our pigs with painted toe nails and a cute outfit, what people do not realize is that it took 2 1/2 hours to get that perfect, Facebook worthy picture. They didn't see the nail polish all over the carpet or hear the squeals that sounded like someone was being tortured in your house as you were trying to get that pig into that cute little outfit. They also weren't a witness to the 712 pictures you took until you finally captured the perfect one, nor did they see the box of cheerios you had to entice your pig with in order to get them to stand there long enough to even take the pictures.
It is probably fair to say most of you have read or seen the movie based on the children’s book Charlotte’s Web. Those who have likely sympathized with the animals in this story, and if you are reading this, on an educational website meant for pig parents, odds are, you too were “rooting” for the pig. I would have to say, that is where my personal pig obsession began. (Because who doesn’t want a talking pig) Obviously as I grew older, I realized pigs couldn’t talk, but I remained intrigued by pigs. Over the last 8 years or so, I have learned a great deal about pigs. Some of these lessons were based on my own experiences and some I have lived through others experiences all while I laughed and cried with fellow pig parents as they endured life and challenges with a pig as a pet, not much different than my own experiences.
If you're lucky enough to have a pet pig, so many emotions run across your mind. When you first see this pig, you want to laugh, you want to smile and you want to cry because you're so glad y'all crossed paths and so happy to have this pig in your life, but scared to death at the same time in fear of losing them. So, what is it really like to have a pig as a pet?
I personally think it is great and I also think it sucks sometimes. Pigs will test the limits CONSTANTLY. They will quickly figure out if they start squealing, someone will check on them and they also know if they continue, someone will likely give them a treat. This may first happen at 6am, then 5 am, finally at 3am, and you're over it. But this is how a pig will act if they are rewarded for undesirable behavior. Your pig has YOU trained. Many do not know this in the beginning, so it escalates into something far worse. This is typically a problem with younger pigs, new pigs versus older established pigs. BUT, it can happen with them as well. Negative behavior needs to be corrected, not rewarded.
What starts your day off like you "woke up on the wrong side of the bed?"
When you are already running a few minutes behind and can not find that adorable sweater you were planning to wear today when you get out of the shower. So, you go hunting for it, it's not in the closet where it was last night, it isn't in the drawer where you would've put it instead...no, instead, it's in hoarder corner. Your pig made a nest with your brand new sweater you planned to wear to that special function at work, tags still attached and then you notice, not only did your pig take the sweater, but also chewed holes in it. Thanks pig.
You stayed up late doing some work on the computer, thankfully finished it around 11pm and go to bed. You go ahead and print off copies for your colleagues because your printer is slow, or mornings are just not the right time to sit around and wait for it. When you go to collect all these copies you made, you notice all the sheets are damaged. Then you see it, hoof prints and bite marks in all these fabulous pieces of paper. Now, you have nothing to wear and your presentation is also ruined. Awesome job pig.
You walk into the kitchen to grab a quick bite to eat and you are left to ponder the question....why didn't I put those child proof locks on the cabinets last weekend? Your kitchen is destroyed, there are 1/2 empty boxes of macaroni and cheese on every surface, along with packets of oatmeal and hot chocolate. There is water all over your floor, either from the water bowl your pig decided to tip over or it could be from the open freezer door on your refridegerator. Items are thawing out in your freezer because, somehow, your pig also got into your freezer and once you look a little closer? Some of the popsicles are also MIA. At this point, your pig is nowhere to be found, so you are also panicked over that and this is only 30 minutes into your day. It is easy to follow the trail of damage to locate your missing beloved pig. Now you have nothing to wear, an unusable pile of papers AND total destruction in the kitchen. Now is when you start wondering "what was I thinking when I decided to get a pet pig?"
You find your pig, in the living room, with the trash can that she has knocked over and dragged through the house and notice the red spaghetti sauce on your white carpet....you are seriously wondering why you EVER got a pig as a pet at this point. Now, you have to re-plan your outfit for work, find a commercial printer to print off 30 packets for your presentation at work, you really need to clean the kitchen and there are red stains on the carpet from the spaghetti sauce you threw in the trash last night that this sweet precious little piglet dumped out that may not come up after work, so you really need to get your carpet cleaner out to do it right this second. On top of all this, now you need to go to the grocery store to replace the food your pig bit holes in or dumped on the floor, not to mention none of your canned foods have labels now, the family isn't thrilled about having a "mystery" item every night with dinner since you have NO idea what is in these cans. But overall, this is a GOOD day! Days can be much worse than this. At this point, you likely just want to call in sick and go back to bed.
At times, it is pure terror, especially when a pig gets sick. Unlike traditional or conventional pets, pig vets, in particular, good ones, are more difficult to find. So when a pig gets sick, and they tend to mask symptoms of being sick until they're really sick, it is frightening when you can't reach your vet or when you do not know what's wrong with them. All you know is that your pig, the same one who gets into EVERYTHING now doesn't want to get up and isn't interested in eating or drinking. (FYI to those who don't already know....a pig that doesn't want to eat or drink is a sick pig) When you see your pig is hurting, there is nothing more you'd rather do than to help her feel better though. I am fortunate because I do have a few vets in my area that I can use and ones that will come to my house to see my pig, but not everyone has that luxury.
At times, it is funny because your pig will have so much personality. And if you have a pig like mine, well, you're in for a treat. I think I should've named mine Sybil because she has more than enough personalities to keep everyone occupied. We love her regardless of which personality she will have that day, but it is fun to watch her walk around, strutting her stuff, while trying to be inconspicuous as she is looking in and under every surface to find something to put in her mouth.
At other times, it is frustration. WHY is my pig acting like a jerk? WHY is my pig squealing at 4am? WHY did my pig just pee under my bed? WHY does my pig want a bite of EVERYTHING anyone is eating? HOW does she hear me opening up a bag of M&M's in my closet? (Another FYI...Your pig will hear you open ANY food-at ANY time.)
All you want to do is protect this little angel/devil pig from anything that will harm them. Sometimes you may go overboard, but nonetheless, it's done not only because you can see the two of you growing old together, but because you can't imagine life without this pig. (And honestly, you can never be too careful when you have a pig, there are never too many precautions to make sure they're safe or protected.)
Pigs have real emotions. Emotions you can feel and see for yourself. If you have never seen a pig cry, pray you never have to. Pigs probably resemble the human emotion the closest of any other animal. A pig will change its tone of squeal or grunt when it’s happy or sad or scared or upset. A pig will show remorse, a pig will show excitement and joy, a pig will show fear and a pig will show hate. Much like people, a pig will show you raw emotions, they do not know how to tell you that they’re sad without showing you tears, they can not tell you how excited they are, so instead they get the zoomies and run all over the place.
Being prepared and pig proofing your home is a MUST. My pig has broken down the crawl space door that leads UNDER my house and ate rat poison, twice in the same day (had to get weeks of vitamin K injections because thankfully, she ate the type with an antidote). She has eaten the touch-up paint for my truck...she has gotten into things I never would've imagined her being interested in, but then again, I can't remember when I was 2 years old, so I do not share that same mind set as her. So, you literally now have locks on anything that opens or closes to protect your pig. (And to protect your things/food/clothes/remotes/phones/plants/carpet/rugs/cords~you get the idea)
Pigs and their overall behavior have been observed for hundred’s of years, so some people already knew pigs had compassion and they knew pigs were smart. The rest of us didn’t realize how smart they were though, especially not most of us who got a pig because we have always wanted one and come home one day to find that the cabinet where we keep snacks is open….and bare. Pigs KNOW where you keep food. Not only can they smell it, but they see you go in that cabinet and then watch you eat your snack. They watch you open the cabinet door and watch you reach your hand in there and pull out something yummy. As soon as the opportunity presents itself, your pig will mock your actions and go to that cabinet, possibly the others too, and try to mimic everything they saw you do....a lesson most of us learn the hard way.
There are also good days, days when nothing bad happens, days that you are so proud of your pig for learning a new trick that the bad days are forgotten about. There are times when my pig just wants to lay in my lap and be cuddled, there are more days when she does NOT want this, but I enjoy the days when she does. The times when I take her on walks or to a store are the best. My pig doesn't mind putting on a harness (she was trained very early on) and it is fun to watch the neighborhood kids/other customers run out to pet her. (although this can be an issue at times, depending on her attitude that day) Everyone wants to touch her snout, I don't understand why anyone would out their hands near any animals mouth when they don't know them, but people are just curious and most have never seen a pig in person. But, when she is good, she is a blessing to have at my side and I am grateful for every minute.
For me, my pig was always asked to participate in events, especially kiss the pig events. She was such a cute little girl. BUT, she had a BIG attitude some days, so while we did some events, I had to closely monitor her behavior and she wasn't able to do many before she had to retire from public service.
Even though she was socialized quite often as a piglet, she didn't grow very fond of people as she grew older. She started nipping and charging at people by a year old and even though her behavior was corrected, she continued to do it to anyone who was not me. (The response in the video was exaggerated because he was trying to be funny, but this did become a real problem at my house. What is cute at 20 pounds isn't cute at 120 pounds. As she got older, she learned to respect people and people learned to respect her as well.) That is a tough spot to be in, seems like you are now the ONLY person who loves this pig unconditionally. The family doesn't want to participate in behavior modification and it won't change without their participation. So you keep on working on it, but do not have much support. As your pig grows older and bigger, things tend to calm down a bit, but an untrusting pig doesn't miraculously change. This is something that has to be worked out. If your pig doesn't trust your spouse or children, and you don't work on it, your pig will continue to not trust your spouse or children. We have pages on our website to help with this and if you cant find what you're looking for on the website, reach out to us and we can put you in touch with others who have consultation services for problems like that. Sometimes the answer is another pig. Pigs need other pigs. Sometimes that isn't possible due to the living situation or zoning ordinances, but these are all things to consider BEFORE you get a pig.
I have taught my pig to paint pictures and donate those to various charities to raise money for pigs in need or auctions to benefit different rescues, naturally, I have a few pieces hanging around my home as well. But this is something not everyone can say they have or can do with their traditional pets. My pig has helped me with the junk mail, my personal shredder service. Obviously she is GREAT at tilling up the soil for plants or a garden and helps out often, even in places where I didn't necessarily need the ground to be tilled. Nonetheless, she is MY pig and MY helper and I love her dearly, so i overlook some of the undesirable things she may do at times. I knew getting a pig as a pet would come with some issues that I wouldn't necessarily like, but I accepted that as a part of having a pig in my home. I do not regret one minute of it, there are some things I wish I had done differently, but overall, I know I have made good decisions for my pig and that she will never have to worry about where she will lay her head at night, and ultimately, that is all that matters to me, my pig is safe.
Finding someone to watch your pig while you go on vacation or out of town for work? Even thinking about your pig not having you there is scary, but not having someone you can trust is even worse. It is almost impossible to find someone that would care for your pig as you do. Making sure your pig gets that good night belly rub and a body check before being tucked in and a kiss on the snout? Yeah, highly doubtful someone else will treat your pig the way you do. Not to mention, your pig not being agreeable to having an unknown person to interact with them...stranger danger. Some pigs will behave very badly for another person while you're not home.
Pig life isn't for everyone, just ask ANY pig rescue and they'll tell you the same thing. People do not truly know whats involved with having a pet pig until they have a pet pig and then decide that a pig isn't the right pet for them. Visit a pig rescue before you decide to get a pig, see what having a pig is truly like. (Click here to see a list of pig rescues) It isn't all rainbows and butterflies. There are going to be bad days, but there are also going to be good days.
Pigs get bigger, they don't stay piglet sized. If you are expecting that, you will be extremely disappointed. Pigs require training, you cant expect a pig to know what you want them to do without teaching them to do it. Pigs aren't animals that can be left in a crate 12 hours out of the day. Pigs need outdoor time. They need to root around and find treasures in the yard. Pigs need social interaction and activities so they don't get destructive. These aren't wants, these are NEEDS for a pig. It is heartbreaking to see any pig that is unwanted or unloved. It is even worse to see one that is being mistreated. It is sad to see people starving their pig to keep them small, and it is equally as sad to see a morbidly obese pig struggling to walk. BUT, all of these things can be addressed. (and we have pages here on the website that can be helpful for all of it) Sometimes it's not the pig that needs training, but the pig parents instead. Ask for help, ask for advice, good, experienced people are willing to help. Don't post your pig as a rehome if there is a chance that your pig can stay. Don't let common problems, that can be fixed, cause you to lose your faith in your pig. Fight to keep your pig, not to find another home. I understand there are some circumstances, beyond your control that limit your options and there is no other way but to find your pig a great new home, but do your part in finding one. Screen potential families, ask lots of questions, ask for help from those who do this on a regular basis. It is bad enough your pig has to go somewhere else to live, but don't make that worse by finding an inappropriate home, try to really find somewhere you want your pig to go and check them out first. NEVER hand your pig over to someone you do not know anything about. There are an equal amount of bad people out there as there are good ones. Don'y buy into the "teacup" or "micro-mini" pig lie. Click here to learn about the marketing terms people use to entice you to buy a pig from them. The volume of people who are looking for pigs is far less than the hundreds of pigs looking for a home. It is hard to GIVE a pig away, much less try and recoup any money you may have spent to buy one. Remember, even though you spent money buying your pig, and maybe even for a spay/neuter, there are MANY years left that someone else will have to pay for. Feed isn't free, vet care isn't free, hay/straw/houses aren't free. You are not doing anyone a favor by selling them your pig at a reduced rate, a pig isn't a novelty item, a pig is a responsibility for life.
As we always like to say, if you can...rescue a pig in need, or adopt a pig that needs a home, if you cannot do that then consider sponsoring a pig at one of the many pig rescues/sanctuaries, maybe you can help transport a pig that needs help getting to a new home, you can always donate to a pig charity, like Mo Money For Pigs, to a pig in need or directly to a pig rescue, and donations don't have to be money, hay/straw/feed/blankets are always needed at rescues/sanctuaries, ask if there is volunteer program or if you can lend a helping hand to a pig rescue for a day. If you're not able to help financially or physically, you can help pigs by being an advocate and most importantly by educating others.
The information on the website was posted to be educational. Sometimes pictures we post may be funny, some may be sad, some may find them to be cute or inspirational. We have every emotion you could imagine running through our minds at one point or another when creating new pages and posting to our Facebook page. We get private messages constantly, which we do not mind, but there have been a lot of times when the person asking the questions clearly hasn't done their homework. It can be extremely exhausting and frustrating, as a pig parent, to answer these very basic questions while being politically correct. We quickly learned that kindness will always take you further than a bitter attitude. People reach out for help because they need help, not a lecture about how they should've researched before bringing a pig home. Sometimes, it is hard not to say that because that is the feeling we sometimes get. Everyone has a different background, varying degrees of knowledge about pigs and some think they know more than they actually do. We do not claim to know everything there is to know about pigs, but between everyone who is a part of our team? We can usually pull our resources together to help with any questions that are asked. There are times when a pig just needs a vet and no amount of information is helpful and ONLY a vet should be involved. If we advise you that your pig needs to be seen ASAP, that is because we feel like your situation is urgent and truly feel like your pig is at risk if not seen and treated by a licensed veterinarian.
Negativity isn't something we endorse, tolerate, engage in or condone. We try very hard to treat everyone with respect, we do not belittle anyone who reaches out for help and we will go above and beyond to help anyone who does chose to contact us, whether that be via Facebook, private message or email. Everyone was new to pigs at one point or another. For example, when I got my first pig, there was no Facebook, there were no groups that were around to answer any questions about my pig. This is one of the reasons why we created one. (Mini Pig Info Group) But we also understand that not everyone has access to social media or choses to have a Facebook page or Instagram account which is why we felt it was so important to create a website for those who were searching for answers and finding it difficult to sort through the responses to get an accurate answer. We don't necessarily have all the answers to every question...but we do have a team of people that we can consult that DO know the answers. Some of our mini pig info team works behind the scenes and are a blessing to everyone in the pig community. We have vet support, rescue support and other experienced piggy parent support and we are grateful for them all. What each person brings to the table is a unique point of view and options that some of us may not have known were available. If you haven't made the decision to get a pig, please read some of our articles that discuss things you should consider before getting a pig to be sure a pig is the right pet for you. You can start by clicking here.
Our goal is to give accurate, up to date information to those who need it and to educate anyone who wants to learn about pigs. We do not make money by working on this website, we do not get paid for answering questions, we have nothing to sell. Therefore, we have nothing to gain by doing what we are doing. Everyone on the MPI team does it for the love of pigs. Thats it. We love our pigs, we love your pigs, we love everyones pigs and never want to see any of them mistreated. Our mission is to advocate and protect pigs and we like to bring awareness to the good pig rescues, mainly so people know they're out there. I wasn't aware of the unwanted/homeless pig problem until about 3 years ago. I had NO idea there were so many pigs searching for a loving family and it makes me sad to see there are so many more that need homes because a family wasn't prepared for a pig to begin with. We have many many pages on the website to help guide you through the various stages of a pigs life. Our new piggy parent section is a great place to start if you are new to pigs and have already brought a pig home. You can click here to read that section. The website is as all-inclusive as possible, but it will never be done. We constantly add information and pictures and improve on what's already there. So please check back often for updates. Please let us know if there is something you feel needs to be added to the website too. We are always looking for new information, new techniques and additional resources for others to have at their disposal.
The basics of pigs is relatively easy...but something you need to start from day one. You will know your pig better than anyone else. While it is extremely important that you build a relationship with a veterinarian, it is also important that you are able to identify that there may be a problem that will require your veterinarian to be involved. You want to seek out an experienced veterinarian. Having that experience can be the difference between life and death. An inexperienced vet may not be able to recognize symptoms of life threatening diseases early on. Early detection and treatment increase your pigs chances of survival tenfold. Take your pig in for routine visits, vaccinate based on your vets recommendations, spay and/or neuter. This relationship can be put to the test when it comes down to an emergency. Always have a back up plan or back up vet. Know who you can call in the event there is an emergency. Murphy's law tells us our pigs won't get sick Monday thru Friday, but instead, they'll show signs of sickness on weekends, nights and holidays. Click here to see our list of vets that see pigs. The list is 95% confirmed and more are added everyday. Establish a relationship with your vet and find out how to handle emergencies. Ask for mobile vet recommendations from your vet in case you need someone to come to you. Remember, as pigs grow, so does the issue of transporting them. It is extremely difficult to get an unwilling 150lb pig into a vehicle in order to take them to the vets office to be seen. Plan ahead, crate train, get a ramp and/or harness and make car rides something your pig enjoys. (Click here to read more about harness training your pig)
All pigs will grow. There are the rare few that may stay on the smaller side, but there is NO such a thing as a teacup pig, micro pig, micro mini pig, designer pig, pixie pig, "genetically altered pig" (which I have seen to be the latest lie), apartment pig, pocket pig, dandy pig, or any other term referring to small pigs. These are NOT breeds. These are just terms that have been used to mislead people into thinking the piglet they're getting will stay small. Some will argue that they've seen the parents and they were small, and they may be on the smaller side. BUT, how old are the parents? Pigs can breed very very early and although these people are putting their pigs at risk by breeding them so young, a lot of these "adult" pigs are actually babies themselves, and aren't nearly done growing yet. To call them adults is a flat out lie. Pigs can grow until they're 5 years old, the majority of the growing will be done within the first 3 years, but maturity is defined as the time when the epiphyseal plates in the long bones close, this typically occurs around 5 years old. We asked our fans to show us baby pictures and post more recent pictures for comparison reasons, you can click here to view that page and see realistic sizes of pigs. You can click here to read about actual breeds of pigs, notice mini is also NOT a breed, but rather a classification of pigs typically seen as pets. Click here to read more about the "teacup" pig myth. We will always recommend that you adopt a pig in need, some pig rescues have pigs that have reached maturity, already trained, very loving and just waiting on a forever family to take them home. Please consider rescuing a pig. You can click here to see a list of pig rescues. We recently added a page for others to post adoptable pigs. You can click here to see the map of adoptable pigs available.
Whether you are rescuing an older pig or bringing home a piglet, if you have other pigs, you need to separate them until you have a clean bill of health. Pigs need time to get used to the idea of having another pig in their area and when introductions are rushed or not done right, pigs will fight and things can get vicious. Pigs who aren't given time to become acclimated to a new pig will try to prove who the "top hog" will be. That includes fighting. A pig that is given the opportunity to see and hear another pig with a barrier is far less likely to show signs of aggression when introduced face to face than a pig who is just put in the same area with another pig and no barrier. The risk of disease should be enough to stop you from doing that, but again, back to the basics, some aren't aware of the possibilities. Mites can spread pig to pig, some of the skin disorders and diseases can be spread from pig to pig...so its best to get a new pig checked out before placing with your beloved pet, just to be on the safe side. Remember, intact pigs WILL try to attract a mate and they will breed if left together. Pigs separated by a gate have been impregnated by another THROUGH a barrier with large enough spaces for the genitalia to push through. ALL pigs should be spayed/neutered to prevent future health problems in addition to additional unwanted pigs, you can click here to read more about why it is important to spay/neuter your pig(s). All these things need to be considered when bringing a new pig home. Click here to learn more about how to properly introduce a new pig to your family.
You should always get a baseline temperature on your pig when your pig is NOT sick. Core body temperatures somewhat vary from pig to pig and region to region. Time of day can impact the temperature as well and so can activity. So, you should take your pigs temperature, using a digital thermometer, several times a day and record your results. Include time of day and activity prior to you checking it so you know what the normal core body temperature should be for your pig. Click here to read steps you can take and appropriate medications that can be safely used with pigs should your pig have a fever.
Remember, a behavior change combined with a fever may indicate an underlying infection, should this be the case, be sure to call your vet.
Building a trusting bond with a pig is certainly important. Pigs are not naturally trusting animals, they make you earn trust, they don't hand it out to just anyone. Doing things a pig may not enjoy later in life when they're young and making these positive experiences will be paramount to your success as your pig ages. Hoof care, for example, is maintenance care that can be home at home by someone without a ton of experience. In order to accomplish this, you will need to start touching the hooves and using tools just to get your pig used to the idea of having their hooves worked on without protest. Click here to read more about hoof care. Once you make this part of your daily/weekly or monthly routine, when the need arises, your pig will let you trim the hooves versus having to call a vet or farrier for assistance. The pig who lets their piggy parent trim their hooves will also not be subject to risky sedation because typically, the pigs that are trained to allow this, will not need medications for you to accomplish this goal. That same theory applies to most of the routine care. Bathing, for example, isn't usually a pleasant experience the first time, however, a pig who has a good experience to refer back to will be less likely to fight when a bath is needed. You're pig will soon realize there is nothing to be afraid of. Although tusk trims "can" be done in the home setting, we do not recommend an inexperienced person trim a pigs tusks. There are too many risks for an untrained person to trim tusks and fracturing a tooth or exposing the tooth pulp can lead to infections and other problems later down the road. Touch their mouth, ears, hooves, every part of their body and desensitize them to you touching them so they don't get scared when you have to. Not only will this allow you to be able to do routine things yourself, but also provides your pig with that security he/she needs to build that trusting relationship with you. Desensitizing your pig to routine maintenance type things is key.
Some pigs begin to display behavioral issues as they age, some is due to spoiled pig syndrome, some are due to food aggression and other times a pig is acting out in an aggressive way. ALL of these issues need to be addressed and we have pages that discuss how you can accomplish or at least get started. Aggressive pigs-click here. Food aggression- click here. Spoiled pig syndrome- click here.
Most people do not factor in the cost of spaying and neutering their pig. Intact pigs do NOT make great pets. Between the hormone driven behavior and the mood swings (PMS), you will soon find that spaying and neutering is one of the most important things you can do for your pig. Intact pigs have a really high % of developing life threatening reproductive tumors and in order to save your pigs life, you will have to pay for a risky and complicated surgery to remove the tumor and the vet will likely spay/neuter at that time, only now? It will cost 10x more. All of this can be completely avoided if you spay and neuter early on. Spaying/neutering when your pig is young ELIMINATES the risk of them developing reproductive tumors/infections, allows their hormones to normalize which also helps with any behavioral issues and prolongs your pigs life by a long shot. Doing this while your pig is young is also a less risky procedure, they do not require as much iso gas for sedation reasons because they don't have the fat that the gas must perfuse though, because of the lack of adipose tissue, the surgery is less complicated and most vets who spay/neuter also feel more comfortable doing these procedures on a smaller pig because the time under anesthesia is far less than when they're bigger. These surgeries vary in price from region to region and vet to vet. Depending on the experience level and market demand, the prices can range from 100.00 all the way up to 1500.00. Do it early, save yourself some heartache and money. Click here to read about the importance of spaying and neutering and also to see pictures from actual procedures so you will know what to expect. We have a section on the website dedicated to appropriate sedation/anesthesia as well. You can read about that by clicking here and you can read about how to care for your pig before and after a surgical procedure by clicking here.
Know your pigs potty habits. Take one weekend and write down when your pig has to defecate or urinate after eating/drinking. Write this information in a dedicated pig journal. Do this once a month for a few months so you get a good idea of its accuracy. By doing this, you will know when your pig hasn't peed or pooped. A pig that has ate and drank, but struggling to urinate or defecate can indicate big problems. Being able to identify this early on can potentially save your pigs life.
If you know your pig usually poops 4 times a day and hasn't, you can use that information to eliminate some possibilities or decide that there may be an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed by a vet. Combine no urination, no pooping and/or with a fever; these symptoms can can point to UTI, obstruction, and many other things, but these diagnoses need to be given by a vet who has done a hands on assessment. We also have a health form that you can download and use to try and have as many details as possible if your pig should become ill. You can click here to read more about common illnesses.
You can purchase pet health insurance to help with the costs of routine care as well as any health issues that may arise. Click here to learn more about pet insurance and who provides insurance for pigs.
Vaccinations can lessen your pigs chances of contracting some of the more common illnesses. Click here to read about vaccinating your pig.
Know your pigs likes and dislikes when it comes to food. A balanced diet is super important to your pigs overall health. Not providing correct nutrients can lead to serious medical complications and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. If you need to "hide" medications at anytime and you know what foods your pigs would do anything for, you now can create a medication delivery system. Incorporating nutritious foods into your pigs diet can help them with a well balanced diet. Click here to read more about nutrition. This section is broken up into a few pages such as how to help your obese pig lose weight, pig approved veggies/fruits and what an unhealthy versus healthy pig looks like, etc. If you click next at the bottom of each page, the discussions will continue or you can hover your mouse over the nutrition section and the subsections will display if there is one particular subject you're interested in reading more about.
It was recently brought to our attention that there are breeders that will give very specific instructions regarding how to feed your pig. One set of guidelines, that I hope and pray aren't true, is to feed the piglet ELEVEN pellets and iceberg lettuce. FOR THE ENTIRE DAY!!!!!That's it. I was appalled that anyone would number 1, ever tell someone to starve their pig and number 2, shocked that anyone would EVER actually do it. But apparently it has and does happen. That is HORRIBLE!!!!!! Do not starve your pig. Feed them based on the recommendations from the companies that spend millions of dollars formulating feed designed to meet your pigs nutritional needs, do not listen to some random person with no degree in nutrition and expect to have a healthy pig. Starving a pig is cruel for a number of reasons, but know that a pig who is malnourished will not live a long happy life. Their lives will be miserable and sad. Click here to read about starved pigs and how that affects them. Try it for yourself. Take 11 pieces of cereal and make that last the entire day along with iceberg lettuce. See how good you feel when you are starving and feel like you're going to pass out from the hunger. Now imagine that there is nothing you can do about it because you're a pig.
Know every inch of your pigs body. Ideally, a body check should be done every night. The temperatures have started to rise in the US, with warmer weather coming about, some of the parasite type insects are out in full force, like ticks. Ticks are a pest and use our pigs as a host. Some ticks have been identified as carriers of Lyme's disease. If your pig has a tick attached, the tick needs to be removed. Click here to learn more about summertime pests and how to control them from invading your pig. But noting differences on your pigs body can help you identify life threatening illnesses, and increase the chances of recovery if caught early. If you see something that wasn't there yesterday, utilize the form on our website to help you track what may be going on and paint a clear and detailed picture of the situation for your vet so that a diagnosis can be easily achieved. You can find that form by clicking here.
Providing your pig with a safe and pig friendly environment will allow your pig to thrive and be a pig without the threat of being attacked from predator type animals. Dogs, for example, are known enemies to pigs. Click here to read more about the dangers. Outdoor time is super important for pigs. They love to root and essential vitamins and minerals can be found in the soil. Pigs that are kept indoors 24/7 tend to have obesity issues, behavioral problems as well as nutritional deficiencies. A sturdy outdoor shelter out of the elements, free from drafts is also very important to your pig feeling secure. Click here to see shelter and pen ideas. Because the pig version of Maslow's theory is difficult to read on the mobile version, we included a downloadable file under the picture so you can zoom in and read what we have added to utilize his theory with pigs.
There are also toxic substances that can potentially be in a backyard including plants or chemicals. Click here to read more about items that are known to be toxic to pigs.
First aid for your pig. This is a MUST know. What medications can be given for an upset belly? What should you do if your pig is vomiting? All of these questions as well as a basic first aid kit should be on hand and the information to build a kit as well as directions for simple illnesses can be found by clicking here. You can learn how to do CPR and the Heimlich maneuver for a pig by clicking here.
Keeping these things in mind, along with the willingness to participate in your pigs care, will pave the way for you and your pig to live a long happy life together. Know when to reach out for help, research often, feel free to message us or send an email for any questions, but ask for help if you need it. Educate yourself, but know your limitations. Know when it's time to involve a vet and know what you are able to manage in the home setting.
There are times when a pig gets sick, you have no idea why, but all of a sudden, you're cleaning up vomit and your pig has no interest in food. (strange, I know) Pigs have a natural instinct to NOT show signs of weakness, so when your pig is visibly showing signs of being sick, your pig is probably super sick. They are prey animals, so in the wild, a sign of weakness can get you killed. Pigs mask illnesses until they can no longer act like everything is ok. They're not like kids (or some men) who whine and cry when they're sick, they are strong and sometimes a behavioral change is the only sign that something may be wrong. They gradually start showing other signs as they get sicker, but there have even been times when the parents didn't notice anything was wrong and they woke up to find their pig had passed away overnight. Know your pig, know your pigs routine. Know how often your pig pees and poops through any given day. Know your pigs normal core body temperature. Know your pigs behavior. Knowing these things will help you see subtle changes that can literally save your pigs life.
The very first thing you need to do is check for a fever. Pigs core body temperature's shouldn't be more than 100 degrees in my experience; although each pigs normal temperature can be slightly different. Mini pigs have a lower core temperature than farm pigs and likely slightly lower than piglets whose tend to be a bit higher. Cathy Zolicani, DVM, was kind enough to write up an article about dealing with a vomiting pig and you can check that article out in our first aid section or by clicking here. Know that just because your pig doesn't have a temperature right now, doesn't mean your pig will not develop one in a couple of hours. Things can go from slightly worried to full panic mode super quick. A normal temp for most mini pigs older than 3 months is somewhere between 98-100. If my pig has a fever of 101? I personally monitor and take it again every 4 hours or so until its normal. At 102, I treat the fever. At 103 or above?, I call my vet. Having a low grade temperature can be helpful because it is the body's natural way of fighting an infection. A higher core temperature is a result of WBC's (white blood cells-the body's cells used to target and attack infections or foreign objects introduced in the body) and pyrogens, which are the chemicals fevers produce. These pyrogens make their way to the brains hypothalamus, which is the temperature regulator for the body, but when these pyrogens bind to certain receptors in the brain, the result is an elevated body temperature, otherwise known as a fever. Some of the pictures below are graphic....
It is so exciting when you are bringing a pig home for the first time, but, if this pig is new to your family, it can take a few days to adjust to a new home, new family, new rules and a new routine. Since pigs are fairly routine animals and do not like change, some pigs will refuse to eat for a day or so after making a transition to a new home. Not to mention how scared pigs are when moved to an unfamiliar place, away from his mama and/or siblings (if this is a piglet), and placed in an unknown area with people hovering over them, that would be scary for any animal, but especially to one that is preyed upon naturally. If a pig in these circumstances hasn't eaten in more than 48 hours OR if this is a piglet and there is no eating or drinking after 24 hours, I would call a vet whether there is a fever or not, just to be on the safe side. Animals can only survive for so many days without eating, but even less without drinking. You can view our new pig parent section by clicking here for tips on how to make this process smoother for you and your pig.
But, what if your pig DOES have a temp? Typically, that means the body is trying to fight off something. The something is what needs to be determined. Elevated temperatures in pigs happen for a number of reasons, as does vomiting. Is it hot outside? Your pigs core temp can be elevated due to heat. Your pig can also vomit because of getting too hot, this is one of the signs of a heat stroke. You can read more about summertime issues by clicking here and reading our seasonal issues section.
There are possibilities of bacterial or viral infections as well. If you choose not to vaccinate your pig, there are a host of bacterial infections your pig can get even if there is only one pig and your pig has never had contact with another. Some of these major illnesses are in the soil your pig digs around in. Erysipelas is a great example of a bacterial infection that your pig can contract without ever being exposed to another pig. It IS found in the soil. Other animals spread disease and carry pathogens from property to property. Some diseases are caused by other species waste, some are literally carried over by birds dropping rodents or their remains onto your property, etc. Click here to read more about erysipelas. Your pig won't necessarily vomit as a sign of this infection/illness, but your pig will likely stop eating and drinking, become lethargic and most likely run a fairly high temperature. This isn't the only illness your pig can get, we have several major illness listed in our pig health section that you can read about by clicking here. Pneumonia is another common illness that can suddenly show up literally within hours. There may or may not be signs of illness leading up to your pig going off feed, but there is usually a high temperature as well. Click here to read more about pneumonia. If you are curious about vaccinations, you can click here to read more about what is available or suggested for pet pigs.
There is also the possibility of obstructions. Intestinal obstructions aren't something that we see every single day, but it is fairly common. Pigs like to eat things, well, pigs like to eat EVERYTHING. This is problematic for a few reasons. 1, they tend to eat things that we wouldn't normally feed them. (trash, walls, carpet) 2, they don't understand that something may not be good for them or potentially toxic or dangerous for them to eat. 3, pigs tend to swallow without doing much chewing. Because of this, the risk for them swallowing something too big to pass through the intestines is higher than some other animals. 4, most pigs aren't as hydrated as we would like them to be, especially in the hotter months. Not being hydrated can lead to constipation which can lead to fecal impaction and ultimately, a blockage. Click here to read about constipation and how to help a constipated pig. 5, parasites!! Worms in the intestinal tract can bind together and cause a blockage, as gross as that is. Parasite control is important. Anti-parasite medications can be given orally and can rid your pig of common worms as well as other parasites. Click here to learn more about getting your pig on a deworming schedule and what medications you can purchase to routinely treat for parasites.
Based on what your pig has access to, most pigs are at risk. Pigs will eat rocks, plastic bags, wrappers from food items, blankets, even hay can bind up in the intestinal tract and cause a blockage. I have seen cases where undigested pellets caused an obstruction that required surgery. (which is one of the reasons why we suggest soaking pellets before feeding, not only does this allow them to swell and help your pig feel full, versus depending on your pig to drink enough water to get the pellets to the swelled state in order to give the the brain the signal to tell the stomach it has had enough to eat. Soaking the pellets also reduces the chances of the pellets being digested in their pelleted form and causing a blockage)
Sometimes bowel obstructions aren't because of anything ingested. There are times when the bowels twist and because of that twisted gut, the bowels can't operate as they're intended causing no blood flow to that area and necrosis. The necrotic bowel will never function again and only surgery to remove the dead parts can correct something like this. Click here to read more about obstructions.
The take away from this? If your pig has a fever, is vomiting and hunched over attempting to poop but isn't able to or nothing is coming out? That is an emergency. Get your pig to the vet!
Most people see they're running low on pig feed and go ahead and buy a new bag before they run out. That is obviously the responsible thing to do. However, depending on how you store your pig feed, whether that be in the bag or you use a container of some kind, be sure to dump excess feed at the bottom out into something else before adding new feed to the top. Feed does go bad, feed does spoil, feed does mold. These can all cause vomiting in your pig. Spoiled feed can actually cause many more problems than just vomiting. They can actually die from ingesting the resulting toxic substance usually referred to as mycotoxins which is actually a toxic product produced by a fungus/mold. ALWAYS check the feed for mold. Use clear storage containers so you can see the bottom at any given time. Moist, hot and dark places are ideal for molds to thrive. An example of this occurring is a family that keeps their pigs feed in the bag in their small laundry room. The heat in the room from the dryer can cause moisture in the air, the dark conditions in the bag are a perfect spot for mold to live and the heat from the dryer helps the process come together. Between the three things, this is the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Click here to read more about spoiled/bad feed.
Let me add, once you see the mold, it's been there for a while. You can NOT just remove the surface mold and feed the rest to your pig, mold has a root like system and that whole batch of feed needs to be thrown away, maybe even sent for testing. Contact the company that made that brand of feed and let them know. Trust me when I say, they want to know when theres a problem with their feed. Most major brand feed companies ask that you notify them if you experience moldy food. They will likely ask you to send a small sample of that feed to them so they can determine why it is moldy and/or proof of purchase. (for the date feed was sold versus when it should've been removed from the shelf at the store/expired) Keep your feed bags regardless, there are programs in place where some of our piggy friends are using those feed bags and making totes to sell and the profits go to some of the pig rescues. Click here to learn more about that program. The information about saving the feed bags is at the bottom of that page.
If your pig refuses feed, check inside the mouth. Although we suggest routinely checking your pig over including inside the mouth on a daily basis, some pigs aren't necessarily huge fans of this. Check your pigs teeth to be sure there isn't some type of abscess or infection in the mouth. Perhaps there is a loose tooth that is causing discomfort and you'll need to make sure your pig gets food that is easy to chew or maybe there is decay or a toothache, possibly even a broken tooth that is making food difficult to eat. Depending on the age of your pig, you can expect some teeth to fall out and new teeth to erupt. Click here to view our dental section of the website to learn how to care for your pigs teeth. (The dental section is after the hoof section)
Don't forget the occasional pig overeating. Pigs will sometimes find their feed, rip the bag open, knock over the storage container, open the cabinet and grab it (or something else) and flat out overeat. Pigs will be pigs and if a source of food is found and they find that is tastes good? yeah, they're going to continue eating until they vomit and they may eat that and then eat some more food if theres no one there to stop them. Depending on what kind of food was eaten, there are some simple things you can do to help your pig that gorges on food like NOT feeding them anymore that day, maybe give them something to settle their stomach or just let them lay around and leave them be. You can click here to learn more about how to handle a pig that gorges on food.
These aren't the only reasons why a pig loses interest in eating and/or drinking, but in our experience, these are the most common. Knowing the reasons can sometimes help you stop these kinds of situations from ever occurring. Keep researching, continue to educate yourself. We try and post blogs and create pages when we see common questions and situations occurring, but if you see a concerning trend going on in pig world, let us know and we can write up an article about it after researching. Remember to establish a relationship with a vet so you're not scrambling to find one when you are having an emergency situation. You can view our updated vet list by clicking here. There are more than 1000 vets listed. We have verified that each vet (Most have been verified, on the list sees pigs in some capacity. There are a handful left that were in the process of calling still) Obviously each one will have different levels of care they're able to provide, so if you are having a complicated medical issue, your vet may refer you to one of the university hospitals. Familiarize yourself with an emergency plan. Ask your vet who you should call for after hours emergencies, because we all know pigs don'y usually get sick Monday-Friday between 9am and 5pm, they get sick on nights, weekends and holidays. Most university vet hospitals are open 24/7. Find the closest one to you and call and ask them what their emergency protocol is, just so you're prepared for any situation. Click here to see that list.
We also have a health document that is downloadable/printable on our website. Using this before you call the vet can help you answer questions your vet may have for you about the situation. You can see that form by clicking here.
If there are ever questions about your pig in a crisis or urgent situation, and by urgent we mean high fever, lethargic, off feed, etc, CALL YOUR VET!!!!!!!! Do NOT waste time asking people for opinions. Some of these conditions can be treated if your vet is able to intervene in time. Let the first opinion be from your vet, not people you don't know. Familiarize yourself with illnesses that need immediate attention so you don't even have to ask others what they think.
How do you handle irresponsible stories about pet pigs? You educate. Recently, we were made aware of a story that aired on Fox news as well as shared to their many Facebook page feeds and added to their website. Naturally this story glamorized pigs and how small they stayed, the usual myths that are tossed around by uneducated people. I don't blame Fox news entirely, but I do place some of the blame on them for not checking facts before airing such a ridiculous story. Despite the wealth of information available to people, unfortunately, they will believe what they want to believe. They will take bits and pieces from different websites and groups and come up with their own conclusion about pigs and this mythical micro pig.
http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/arizona-news/micropigs. They likely didn't mean to cause a riot, but I know I reached out to them privately as did several of my friends when we were alerted to this story. Thankfully, the news has reached out to several rescues and will be doing a story on the unwanted pigs across the US to counter the inaccurate story they already did. I am happy to report they did, in fact, do a story about rescue that can be seen by clicking the following link. (http://www.fox13news.com/news/news/pigrescuesoverwhelmed-story) It is stories like the first one that cause a surge of people to run out and get a pig on a whim. We are the ones left to network and find homes in a few months, once the novelty wears off. Rescues do not have any more room for any more pigs. People do not have any more room in their homes for any more pigs. Shelters aren't equipped to handle pigs, craigslist isn't a place that I would ever suggest a person to try and rehome their pig on. It has gotten so out of control, and this is only February, the pigs that were bought as Christmas gifts are about to start being rehomed in the next month or so too....stories like this do not help the already overpopulated pig problem. If you are considering getting a pig for you and your family, please go check out a pig rescue. Volunteer for a day. Get to see firsthand what having a pig is like. You may even see the big ball of fun that was destined to live with you right there at that rescue. But, don't believe the lies. Trust your science community who have come up with actual breeds of pigs. Trust your universities who have done extensive research to be sure you are fully informed about what you are getting yourself in to. Trust the pig rescues that bring these unwanted/unloved pigs to their homes when they "grow too big" or are much different than what these people expected when they brought these pigs home. (Click here to see a list of pig rescues all over the world) These are the people who KNOW the truth and have evidence to support their way of thinking. I would say the 2 main reasons why pigs are rehomed are 1. Pig outgrows expectations and 2. The pig grows up and isn't a cute little piglet anymore, so ultimately the novelty wears off. That is a shame. People should be ashamed of themselves when they "have" to "get rid of" their pig because it's growing up. I pray these same people who don't take the responsibility seriously will care for their children should they have any.
Anyone in pig world knows there is NO breed called teacup or micro or micro-mini. (Click here to read more about the teacup myth and how these annoying terms have fooled ALOT of people.) These terms are used to market these pigs and often mislead people into thinking they're getting something that they aren't. They're going to end up disappointed with what they find several years later, especially if they have unrealistic expectations. If you were to buy a BMW car only to find out in 5 years that it was a mini-van, you would probably be quite disappointed. Essentially telling people that these pigs will stay piglet size is doing just that. While we understand there are a few pigs out there that have stayed relatively small, they are the exception and not the rule. Let me add, the overall well-being of these pigs is also in question, especially after hearing the "expert" on the segment refer to these pigs as micro pigs, and the fact that you can see their bone structure indicates to me that they should weigh more than they do.
If the weight of a pet is the most important factor when choosing what type you want to add to your family, then you should reconsider getting a pig. Pigs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are tall, some are long, others are short. Some pigs are fat, some are healthy and some are, simply put, starved. Pigs come in all heights, lengths, colors and each of these pigs will have their own unique personality to go with it. What are some physical signs that a pig may be starving?
-Head is to large for their body (Often times bobble headed)
-Sunken (hallow) eyes (No brightness, very dull eyes)
-Gap under their chin (If you run your hand under their chin you will feel an indentation)
-Low energy or lethargy (No zoomies)
-Pigmentation of their skin is off
-Legs tend to bow (Malnutrition also effects the skeletal system)
-Resting their head on objects *this was a huge thing for me as that made me think, wait, MY pig does that! This doesn't convey when your pig does this occasionally, but when your pig can't stand or hold its' head up for long periods of time, this is a problem.
-Hair is thinner and rougher, typically dull
-Hair doesn't lie flat
-Poor skin and coat
-Pigs can also get super hairy when they're underweight too because the body is trying to compensate for the lack of body fat as well. So lack of hair or a lot of hair, both can point to a pig being underweight.
-Some pigs gait is staggered or unsteady-affected by the malnourishment and they're not able to walk straight, often falling or they have a walking disorder such as goose-stepping due to vitamin/nutritional deficiencies, some can't walk at all
-Eyes may have a glazed look or have a sadness to them
-Backbone tends to curve upwards leaving a hunched-over stance
-Bones visible through the skin. You should not be able to identify the skeletal structure from looking at a pig. This includes the facial structure. No, there shouldn't be excessive fat rolls, but you shouldn't be able to see the eye sockets and nasal bones either.
-Lack of engagement. (These pigs seem to have ADD- they're often too tired and starving to pay attention or follow commands)
-Bloated or distended belly. (It is the same thing that happens to humans when they have very little to eat, the belly fills with gas giving a "bloated" look. There are other medical reasons for this as well, but combined with other symptoms from above, it points to a malnourished pig.)
-Often times people know they're starving these pigs and will keep clothing on them to cover the bones. We are NOT saying all pigs that wear clothes are starving. We ARE saying that people will try to hide it though.
-Aggression can be a result of a starving pig. Pigs that are hungry can also be angry. A starving pig may try to fight for more food. This is LIFE or DEATH for them!
-Pigs that eat ANYTHING in sight. A starving pig will eat anything to try and fill their belly. Some pigs have nutritional deficiencies and eat odd things, like drywall. But a starving pig will eat carpet, drywall, toys, flooring, anything they can fit in their mouths and swallow. Pigs have a natural curiosity that usually results in them "tasting" many things (including the list above) but they're not desperately looking for food. YOU know whether or not your pig is starving and YOUR pig is the one who will suffer and pay the ultimate price with their life if you continue to do this to them.
These aren't the only signs, but these are clear identifiable signs that a pig is being starved. Starving pigs is a cruel way to stunt the growth. They may not show immediate signs of being starved, but eventually they will. There are no healthy, fully mature pigs under 50 pounds that I am aware of to date. There are no breeders that can consistently produce pigs that stay small. There may be breeders who claim they do, they may even have a pig or two that have a smaller stature and that is typically what they focus on...those particular pigs. Be extremely wary of breeders who tell you that in order for your pig to stay small, you need to buy the food THEY manufacture. Seriously? What's in this "feed"? Is there a label? Is this food nutritionally sound? Are the key ingredients tested routinely to be sure their vitamin/mineral's relatively remain consistent? I wouldn't buy some unknown brand of food for my pig with no identification for ANY reason. There are major brands of feed that we KNOW are healthy. These same companies have feed recommendations that you can follow to ensure your pig stays healthy from a nutrition standpoint.
Do you know why people with these smaller pigs are discussed with such passion from those in the pig community? Because the pigs do NOT look healthy. I don't care what your vet has said, I don't care what you might think, when you can see the bones in the face, that pig is starved. Most pigs that are moderately starved will start to have behavioral issues, attacking or acting aggressive due to not getting enough to eat. This is a fairly common reaction. People who have to fight for food are the same, they'll do whatever they can in order to secure nourishment for their body. Some of these pigs are so starved, I highly doubt they have the energy to attack anyone.
Are smaller pigs somehow better than bigger pigs? I don't think so. Having a pig that is smaller can certainly have its' benefits, but an angry, sad and starving pig? I just don't see the glamour in that. Having a small pig isn't worth the toll it takes on my pigs body. There is a huge gray area where body scoring is concerned. Fat pigs aren't any fun either, but a fat pig at least has the joy of eating, obviously these starving pigs have been denied that pleasure. When a pig doesn't get the appropriate amount of nutrition, there is a domino effect. The body can't grow like its supposed to leaving growth that is significantly stunted. The bones need nutrients found in correct amounts of feed, when this is not being given, these bones are weak and can become easily deformed. Sometimes these bones aren't strong enough to support the weight or begin to bow leaving disfigured legs or backbones and taking the ability to walk away from these pigs. These pigs suffer from broken bones or easily fracture their extremities. The lack of proper nutrition also takes a toll on the lymphatic system rendering the immune system worthless. These pigs will likely get sick often or won't be able to fight off common viruses or bacteria that other pigs can carry and never suffer effects from. These same illnesses can claim the life of starved pigs. The organs contained within the pigs body rely on nutrition to help them perform their duties within the body and although they will take the nutrients they can get, eventually, the capacity to function as they're supposed to will diminish.
Starvation is one of the most deadly conditions on the planet; according to some studies, the effects of starvation play a major role in between one-third and one-half of all worldwide deaths of children under the age of five. The same rule applies to pigs. By depriving the body of nutrition, starvation slowly allows the body to devour its own reserves, including muscle, fat, and organs, up to the point of complete system shut-down and death. Understanding how starvation affects the body is important to recognizing the signs of malnutrition and preventing a growing nutrition-based problem from worsening beyond repair.
The body is an effective storage device for fats, nutrients, and other important components. These stores are regulated by nutrition in the form of food, beverages, and vitamin and mineral supplements. When lack of nutrition occurs, the body quite quickly turns to stored reserves, beginning with glycogen, in order to keep vital functions up to par. As the body begins to devour more and more stored components to keep running, the physical effects of starvation become apparent.
One of the first effects of starvation to occur is a drop in metabolism. In order to maximize efficiency, the body protects its insulating fat stores by consuming muscle stores instead, using these reserves to make up for the lack of calorie intake. Dropping metabolism can lead to feelings of fatigue, decreased capacity for activity, and mental sluggishness. This often results in staggering gait or neuro-like symptoms as well. This is sometimes visible early on, but sometimes the long term effects are not immediately identified.
Since the body is busy keeping vital systems going, many non-vital functions slow or cease. Hormone production is often disrupted, Intact pigs may stop menstruating entirely, or experience erratic heat cycles. Malnutrition and starvation, therefore, can have serious developmental effects, even after recovery (if this is rectified), as normal hormonal functions may be temporarily or permanently thrown off track.
The effects of starvation on the brain cause a lack of concentration, loss of motor skills, and increased likelihood of anxiety and depression. As the condition progresses, brain function decreases, leaving the victim, in this case, a pig, in a state of fatigue or torpor. Apathy continues to increase, until the pig may no longer be able to attempt to find food or survive.
Initial weight loss will quickly turn to emaciation because of the effects of starvation. The limbs become extremely thin as muscle and fat stores are depleted, while the eyes and face begin to appear sunken. Lack of vital proteins can lead to the loss of hair, poor skin condition or development of edemas, which appear as large swollen areas. The stomach may protrude enormously, as part of a syndrome known as kwashiorkor. This can present as a bloated belly and even mimic the appearance of a large belly in general. (See the video below for examples)
Starvation is frequently a result of uneducated people who have chosen to do this on purpose, but there have been times people have been told to feed extremely restricted diets by the very person who told them there was such a thing as a "micro" pig. While the effects can often be reversed up to a point, acute starvation can cause serious organ damage and often leads to long-term health conditions including cardiovascular problems. If a pig, particularly a piglet, is exhibiting signs of starvation, it is important to try and intervene. Perhaps this person doesn't know the long term effects of malnutrition? Maybe they do and have chosen this as a way to attempt to keep a pig at a particular size, but that is called abuse. Unattended, starvation leads inexorably towards death. Not necessarily immediate death, but the effects from long term starvation WILL ultimately lead to death. Educate, educate, educate. Anything can be said tactfully without a hostile undertone. There may even be circumstances you're not aware of, such as a pig being recently rescued from horrific situations, so be sure to ask and not accuse if you are truly trying to help. Do NOT jump all over someone because their pig is skinny, instead, take that opportunity to educate them. Once you lose your temper and get nasty with your comments, that person isn't going to listen to anything you have to say. Stay kind, be kind with your verbiage. Some of these people who have these pigs honestly do not know, they're listening to someone they feel is an expert, although we know otherwise, this person may not, even despite articles like this that are available online. You don't know the circumstances unless you ask. Some of these pigs may actually have recently been rescued, please keep that in mind as you're in conversations with people. NEVER assume. Keep your words sweet in case you have to eat them later.
Starving pigs is causing psychological harm, although the degree of severity can be hard to truly determine. A pig trusts its human caretaker. By taking away the one things pigs love...food...essentially you have robbed them of their one achievable desire. What kinds of psychological harm do animals suffer?
Rejecting: an active refusal to provide emotional support
Terrorizing: the creation of a “climate of fear” or an unpredictable threat or hostility, preventing the victim from experiencing a sense of security.
Taunting: teasing, provoking, harassing.
Isolating: active prevention of social interactions and companionship.
Abandonment: desertion and termination of care.
Over-pressuring: placing excessive demands or pressure to perform and achieve.
Starving a pig can fall into many of these categories. It may not be based on the descriptions above, but terrorizing and taunting comes to mind right off the bat. Knowingly limiting the amount of food your pig is able to eat in a way to "keep your pig small" is not only ignorant, but also abuse. DO NOT LIMIT YOUR PIGS FEED TO A TEASPOON OF FOOD BECAUSE SOMEONE IGNORANT TOLD YOU TO!!!!
Here are a few pictures of pigs that we know of that were starved.
You may or may not know the story of Sophie. Sophie was a pig that was not only starved, but also made to live in a bathtub her entire short life. When she was finally rescued, she was found to be malnourished and had multiple broken bones, likely as a result of starvation, but also due to her attempts to escape her horrible living situation. Very sad. The worst part of this? Her owners didn't see a problem with it. Sophie wasn't able to survive her injuries, but we are hopeful her story is enough to show others what starving a pig can ultimately do. Rest in paradise sweet girl.
This unfortunate pig was saved and rehabbed by a friend. What was thought to be an issue with the spine was later discovered to be a result of malnutrition. This particular pig was also found to be pregnant in this picture, sadly enough. She did recover and was returned to her owner who "didn't know" about nutrition and is being carefully monitored by the friend who took her in and got her healthy.
This is Frankie the pig. Obviously starved and full of mange, he was thankfully saved and is living a happy and healthy life!!
These pigs were at a pig rescue (that is no longer around). Obviously malnourished and starved, they too, were saved and taken to a good rescue where they have recovered and are thriving in their new healthy life.
These charts are NOT intended for piglets, but more for pigs over a year old...however, if your pig is a number 1, your pig needs to gain some weight regardless of the age. STOP STARVING PIGS TO KEEP THEM SMALL!!!!!! You will never get respect for abusing your pig, not from us or any respectable organization that has a genuine love for pigs. Big pigs are beautiful. There are no recognized breeds named teacup or micro. Check out the links below to see the sources, there are links on these pages from universities and the science community research studies. These are credible resources, not just some person who said so. Don't let your selfish desires outweigh the needs of a pig. Many are simply not equipped or prepared to bring one home and do so anyways. I was one of the people. You can read the heartbreaking article that I wrote in his honor that depicts his short life by clicking here.
A few links for you to look at.
Healthy versus unhealthy pigs.
Guide to nutrition
Teacup pig myth
Realistic sizes of pigs from real owners
Let all that information soak in and we will even give you the opportunity to form a counter argument. By all means, post a comment or let us know what you think. We can provide scientific data to support our thoughts, can you? We welcome your questions or comments, we also welcome a well thought out counter argument supported by facts. But please be prepared to post credible resources because, we are. Someone telling you something doesn't make it credible, FYI.
This is the same pig pictured from the top of the blog, his name was Jack-Jack. He was saved and rehabilitated by Gretchen Schlueter Kendall. Sadly, Jack passed away in 2012 due to twisted gut, likely as a result of scar tissue that formed after a procedure he had much earlier in his life. While we HATE seeing pictures of pigs in this condition, it is very important that people see the long term effects of blatant neglect to properly care for their pigs. THIS is what is left when you no longer want the responsibility. Jack-Jack was one of the lucky pigs who was able to overcome his past and was always a great pet pig. He just wasn't given enough time here on earth. Rest in peace sweet angel. Your story will help to educate many others. You can read more of his story by clicking the following link. http://www.skippingkunekunes.com/jack__jill
This is Oscar, he is a pig that was being starved and eaten alive by rats at the age of 7 years old, nearly dead weighing in at about 20-25lbs because the breeder told the owner to feed 1/4 cup of food DAILY. Does this look like a healthy pig?
This wound was almost to the spine. Without proper nutrition, the body can't heal effectively. The body relies on the nutrients in order to maintain the skins integrity and build immunity and strong muscles, etc.
This is the same pig about a year later. Miraculous recovery after being appropriately cared for and fed correct. He has a permanent deformity to his side due to his past neglect, but overall, has recovered quite well despite his former situation. Thankfully, Katherine Wilson saved his life!!!!
Here are a bunch of starving pigs. Very sad to see people posting pigs like this. This picture was shared by our dear friend Sherri Boley. I believe these are pigs posted by a breeder, but not entirely sure. If so, this is sad, sad, sad. I can only imagine the nutrition advice this person would give someone new to pigs. EXACTLY why this website was created....to tell the truth!
In honor of National love your pet day, we have compiled a list of things to spoil your piggy.
A well mannered pig is a happy pig. Help your pig learn by making it fun. There are several methods you can use to accomplish this, but positive reinforcement is definitely one. http://www.petexpertise.com/dog-training-aids/treat-n-train-remote-dog-training.html
The "Bob-a-lot" treat dispenser can keep your pig occupied while promoting exercise at the same time. Put in some cheerios or even use this for feeding dry pellets. http://www.amazon.com/StarMark-Bob-A-Lot-Interactive-Pet-Large
Do you miss your pig sometimes and wish you could see and talk to him? Well here is a solution to that problem. Not only can you see and talk to your pig, you can also have a treat dispensed via wifi. http://www.amazon.com/PetChatz-HD-Greet-Treat-Videophone
Of course a belly rub is ok too....(and this costs nothing but your time)
Would your pig like to take a ride? Perhaps a bike ride? http://www.amazon.com/Aosom-Elite-Bike-Carrier-Trailer
Take a few minutes and sit down and watch a movie with your pig...
You don't need fancy toys or treat dispensing cameras to make your pig happy. You don't need a day to honor the commitment you made to your pig when you decided to add him to your family. The most important thing you can do is love your pig unconditionally, even when they aren't on their best behavior.
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.