Raising Pigs As Pets: Quick Guide

Pigs are becoming increasingly popular as pets, and for good reason. They are intelligent, social animals that form close bonds with their owners. Pigs are also very clean animals, they can be potty trained and they enjoy playing and cuddling with their owners. Pigs come in a variety of sizes, from tiny miniature pigs to large commercial breeds, so there is a pig to suit every lifestyle.

They can live for up to 15 years, and with proper care, they can make wonderful and affectionate pets. It’s important to research the specific needs of different breeds and to understand that pigs require space, exercise, and a healthy diet to thrive.

If you are considering a pig as a pet, it’s important to be a responsible owner and provide them with the care and attention they deserve.

What Is The History Of Keeping Pigs As Pets

Pigs have been kept as pets for thousands of years, dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans. In the past, pigs were kept as a source of food, but over time they have become valued for their companionship.

In the 1800s, miniature pigs were introduced as pets and became particularly popular in Europe, and by the latter half of the 20th century, they gained popularity as a pet in North America, where they are now widely kept in both rural and urban areas.

The trend of keeping pigs as pets has continued to grow, and they are now considered one of the most intelligent and affectionate domestic pets.

Breed Of Pigs As Pets

Several breeds of pigs can make great pets, including Miniature Potbelly Pigs, Kune Kune Pigs, and Tamworth Pigs. Each breed has unique characteristics, sizes, and temperaments that should be considered when choosing a pet pig.

  • Miniature Potbelly Pigs are small and compact, making them ideal for urban living. They are known for their affectionate and social personalities, and they are highly trainable.
  • Kune Kune Pigs are a smaller breed that is known for their docile and friendly nature. They are also known for their distinctive “tassels” or “wattles” under their chin.
  • Tamworth Pigs are a larger breed with a more energetic and curious personality. They are a great choice for owners with a bit more space, as they require plenty of room to roam and play.

Regardless of breed, all pigs require a significant amount of space, a healthy diet, and proper veterinary care. Potential pig owners should also consider the cost of care and be prepared to make a long-term commitment to their pets. Choosing the right breed and being a responsible owner are essential to ensure that a pig has a happy and healthy life as a beloved companion.

Housing And Diet Of Pet Pigs

Housing and diet are important considerations for pet pigs. They require a secure, clean and spacious environment with access to shade and a comfortable area for sleeping. A suitable indoor area or a fenced outdoor area with a sturdy shelter is recommended for pet pigs. Pigs are social animals, and they should not be kept isolated, it’s best to have at least one companion or have regular interaction with their owners.

A balanced diet is crucial for pet pigs’ health and well-being. They are omnivores and require a diet that consists of both vegetables and protein. A commercial pig feed that is formulated specifically for pet pigs is recommended, and fresh vegetables such as carrots, apples, and lettuce can be offered as treats. It’s important to avoid feeding pigs human junk food, as it can be harmful to their health and lead to obesity. Access to fresh water should also be provided at all times.

Regular veterinary care, including regular check-ups, vaccinations, and deworming, is also essential for pet pigs. Pigs are prone to certain health problems, and it’s important to catch and treat any issues as early as possible.

What are the Physical Characteristics and Behavioral Characteristics of Pigs as Pets

Physical Characteristics: Pigs are stocky, robust animals with barrel-shaped bodies and short, sturdy legs. They have a snout that is long and flexible, which they use to search for food and to manipulate objects. Pigs have an excellent sense of smell, which they use to locate food and detect danger. Their skin is thick and covered in a dense layer of bristly hair. Pigs come in a variety of colours, including black, white, pink, and brown. The size of pigs varies greatly depending on the breed, with miniature breeds weighing as little as 50 pounds, while larger breeds can weigh over 700 pounds.

Behavioural Characteristics: Pigs are highly intelligent and social animals that form close bonds with their owners. They have a strong memory, and they can be trained to perform tricks and perform simple tasks. Pigs are clean animals and can be potty trained to use a specific area for elimination. They are also active and playful, and they enjoy playing with toys and exploring their environment. Pigs are affectionate animals, and they enjoy cuddling with their owners and being petted. They are also sociable animals and should not be kept isolated. When kept in a group, pigs will establish a social hierarchy, and owners need to understand and respect this hierarchy.

Pigs have a strong natural curiosity, and they enjoy exploring their surroundings and investigating new objects. They are also known for their stubbornness and determination, which can make training challenging at times. It’s important for owners to be patient and consistent in their training and to use positive reinforcement techniques.

Health risks

Pigs, while often kept as pets, can pose health risks to humans. These risks include:

Zoonotic Diseases: Pigs can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, such as swine flu, salmonellosis, and E. coli.

Allergies: People with allergies may react to pig dander, saliva, or urine.

Parasites: Pigs can carry parasites such as lice, ticks, and mites that can infest their surroundings and cause health problems for humans.

Risk of Injury: Pigs can be strong and playful, but their rough play can result in accidental injury to their owners.

Pig owners need to take necessary precautions, such as practising good hygiene, regularly checking their pigs for parasites, and providing proper veterinary care to minimize these health risks. Before getting a pig as a pet, it’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian and educate yourself on proper care and potential health risks.

Advantages and disadvantages of keeping pigs as pets

Advantages of Keeping Pigs as Pets:

Intelligence: Pigs are highly intelligent animals and can be trained to perform a variety of tasks, making them entertaining and interactive pets.

Affectionate: Pigs are social animals and can develop strong bonds with their owners. They are known to be affectionate and enjoy human interaction.

Adaptability: Pigs are adaptable animals and can be kept in a variety of living environments, including indoor and outdoor setups.

Low Maintenance: Pigs are relatively low-maintenance pets and do not require as much exercise as dogs or other active pets.

Disadvantages of Keeping Pigs as Pets:

Size: Pigs can grow quite large, which means that they require a significant amount of space for living and movement.

Health Risks: As previously mentioned, pigs can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans and pose a health risk.

Noise: Pigs can be noisy animals, which can be a problem for neighbours or for those who live in close quarters.

Specialized Care: Pigs have specific dietary and husbandry needs that require specialized knowledge and resources.

Legal Restrictions: In some areas, owning pigs as pets may be restricted or prohibited by law.

Before getting a pig as a pet, it’s important to consider the potential advantages and disadvantages and ensure that you are prepared to provide proper care and meet any legal requirements.