Pigs as Family Pets

You and your family may be charmed with the thought of adding a pet pig to your home. Many people have moved forward with finding their new pet, yet not taken the steps to provide appropriately for their pig. And themselves.

As small and unassuming as a small pig might seem, there are considerations that can make your new pet more comfortable. They can also create less worry and apprehension for you in the long run. Also, consider that your city or town may have regulations to be followed by pet pig owners. You'll want to know any requirements in advance of bringing your new pet home.

Maryann Miller, in Thinking About a Pig, says, "They are very fast learners. The house must be "pig proofed" and you will learn new things like not leaving your purse on the floor where a pig could get into candy, cosmetics, pins or medicine. A pig can use a doggy door to go outside at will to a safe fenced, dry and clean potty and exercise area. Young children must be made to understand that a pig is not a stuffed toy, but truly an animal to be respected."

Children in your home will eventually outgrow the stage of putting everything from crayons, marbles, coins, string and paperclips into their mouths. Your pet pig will always be enticed by these choking hazards. Fastidious housekeeping will become necessary in your home to maintain your pig's health and wellness.

The Joy of Pigs suggests that pet pigs, especially potbellied pigs, were first imported into the United States from Vietnam in 1985. They were originally intended for public display in zoos, but became a craze and still maintain their popularity as household pets. Pigs can be small and cute when you adopt or purchase them.

Know that realistically, they may become 300 pounds. Overfeeding can increase their weight. Watching their weight can help them maintain it somewhere between 100 and 150 pounds.

Your pet pig is smart and teachable. With proper training and guidance, you will be able to teach it to use a litter box, and walk beside you in your neighborhood to keep it healthy and fit. Playing with your pig will delight you, especially when it returns a toy that you've thrown across your room or yard. Dog-like habits can be encouraged, including snuggling near your chair or on your lap.

Your pig will be virtually non-allergenic to family members, clean, generally quiet, playful and clean. Regular grooming will help them maintain their odor-free hygiene. In hot weather or sweltering summer months always remember to provide plenty of fresh water for your pig to refresh in. Yes, a mud bath is also a good choice. Integration with household dogs or cats should be fairly easy to accomplish. Your pig will be mild mannered and want to be everyone's friend.

Veterinarian Lorrie Boldrick said, "There are more pigs around than one would guess." She sees an average of 5 miniature pot-bellied pigs each day, "so I'd say there are more than several hundred in Orange County (California) alone." And, in just the United States there are an estimated 40,000 family potbellied pigs. Because they've been abandoned and sheltered or adopted, Boldrick said, "Maybe 30% of the pigs I see are in their second homes." This is not devastating news to Raena Barry, founder of the National Committee on Pot-Bellied Pigs. "Pigs will be better cared for," she asserts.

Check with your local veterinarian before you bring a pig into your family. They may know of a well-mannered pig in need of your good home. Your vet will also advise you on nutrition needs and vaccinations to create and maitain good well being for your new family pet.

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