What to Consider When Adding a Pet Pig to Your Family
A healthy mini-pig can weigh between 80-200lbs, no matter what a breeder says. There is no 100% accurate way to predict what the full grown size of a pig might be, if you have a size restriction then a pig may not be the right pet for you.
Pigs do best with a lot of outside time. They will need a safe, secure space in which to root and play. They will also need to be provided with shelter from the elements, always have fresh water available and have a pool or wallow in the summer to help them stay cool. Pigs are tough on a yard and will tear up the grass and soil while rooting.
Pigs are not people pleasers; they are pig pleasers! As pigs are highly intelligent animals, they know that they do not always need to listen to their owners. They require consistent firm leadership and an extreme amount of patience. Nothing with a pig happens quickly, everything must be at their pace. Pigs can develop behavioral issues such as biting or trying to dominate family members (particularly small children), especially if un-altered. Pigs can easily become bored and destructive if not given enough stimulation. Every pig is different, so be sure to take the time to find one whose personality fits your family dynamic. Rehoming pigs can be difficult and the change of circumstance sometimes causes them to "mourn" for those they were close to. Lots of love and attention can help them adjust while they get used to their new life.
While pigs can get along well with other barnyard animals and cats you must use extreme caution with dogs. Dog attacks are common and one of the leading causes of death in pet pigs (that includes sibling dogs). Dogs are predators and pigs are prey animals, no matter how well behaved the dog there can be some hard-wired instincts to go after the pig. Pigs can also be extremely pushy towards other animals but have no way to defend themselves if they go too far and often end up injured in a fight. Pigs and dogs should never be alone unsupervised, even if they appear to be friends. They should have separate spaces to stay in when unsupervised. Travel
Pigs bond very strongly with their owners and do not always respond well to them leaving. Pigs should never be dropped off at a dog kennel for boarding and a sitter who is familiar with the pig will need to be found. This person will need to know the pig’s behavior, schedule and what to do in case of an emergency. A pig may try to challenge any incoming caretaker or develop health issues (such as ulcers) due to the stress of their owner being gone.
Vet care for a pet pig can be challenging. Many small animals vet will not see pigs and you will have to seek out someone with experience. Pig vet visits typically cost more, as they are an exotic animal and not as common for most clinics. Pigs do not do well with anesthesia and need to have a special type used (Isoflorine or ISO). Spaying or neutering your pet pig is extremely important and can be quite costly (typically $250-$400 for a spay and $100-$300 for neutering). Male pigs that are unaltered emit a strong smelling musk and can act aggressively towards people or other animals. Un-spayed females can forget where to go to the bathroom, act aggressively or whine uncontrollably when they come into heat every 21 days. Additionally, uterine cancer in unfixed female pigs is incredibly high and signs usually begin to show around 5 years old. Routine
Pigs thrive on routine, which means their owners must also stick to that routine. Meal times should occur at the same time every day, which means you need to get up every morning and be home at the same time every single day. Failure to stick to a routine can lead to a destructive or loud, demanding pig. Pigs are very time-consuming pets that require a lot of attention and time from their owners to be well-behaved members of the family.