If you want a hypoallergenic pet that is not your ordinary cat or dog, think about a PIG! Before you run out and get one though, there are some important things to consider.

Let’s look at some positive things about owning a pet pig.  As stated before, pigs are hypoallergenic. They also do not shed which means less mess to clean up. Their life span can be up to 20 years. (This can be a positive or negative depending on the owner’s age.) Pigs need the mental stimulation of a typical three-year-old child. (Again, this can be a positive or a negative. If you already have a three-year-old in the house you might want to wait till that little person gets older.) You can provide stimulation by teaching them tricks. Pigs can learn to walk on a lease. Be sure to lather your pet in sunscreen on those daytime walks and take water to drink for you and your pet. Pigs are easily house trained.  If you already own a cat, pigs and cats get along well together. Pigs are social animals and hate to be alone. They will not bond with humans quickly, but they can eventually become your best buddy. They love to have their tummies rubbed and they love to snuggle. An annual trip to the vet for vaccinations and hoof trimming is all you need to plan for since pigs are generally clean and healthy animals. Be aware though, if the pig is allowed to get overweight, it can have leg problems.

The negatives to owning a pig are all things that can be worked with if you are willing to put in the time and make changes. Living in an apartment is a definite negative. So, unless you are willing to move to a place with a yard space for only your pig, forget pig ownership for now.  The reason for the outdoor space is because your pet pig, which does not sweat, needs to cool itself in a mud hole or a small wading pool. The mud also serves as a sunscreen. They have a natural instinct to root so they need to have a space of their own they can tear up. Pigs are territorial animals and will take over your home making it theirs. It is imperative to let the pig know you are the leader of the pack or they will become aggressive towards you feeling they are in control. Pigs do not like to be alone for long periods of time. If no one is home during the day you might want to get two pigs. If left alone inside a house they have been known to rip up carpets, eat drywall, and turn over plant and trash containers. They can learn to open the refrigerator and cabinets looking for food. Pigs love to eat! They love fruits and vegetables and your local livestock store sells food specially mixed for pigs. If you have a cat or dog, never leave their food where the pig can eat it. There is too much protein in cat food and dog food for pigs and it will be harmful to them. Dogs are a natural predator of pigs so think about this if you already own a dog or are planning to get one.

Be sure to check the zoning ordnances in your area to make sure you can own livestock as pets. Also, check to make sure there is a veterinarian close to your home who will treat pigs. Pigs do not do well when feeling stressed and can get pneumonia which can kill them. If your pig is not spayed or neutered when you get it, it is to your benefit to have it done. Females that are not spayed can develop urine problems. Plus, they can have their first litter after three months. Males that are not neutered will leave a musky scent on clothes and furniture.

After learning about the positives and negatives of having a pig for a pet and you still want to give it a try, look for your new pet at an animal shelter. Shelters make sure the pig is healthy and well-socialized before letting it be adopted. An older pig will have reached its full growth so you will know the size your pet will be when you leave the shelter. The normal size for a pig is 600 pounds. The reason so many people bring their pig to a shelter is because they find out mini in pig size isn’t really mini. They purchase a mini pig weighing between 20 and 30 pounds not knowing there are 15 to 20 breeds of mini pigs that range from 150 to 180 pounds when fully grown. If you purchase your mini pig from a breeder and they show you the parents who are still small, do not let the parents size deceive you. Pigs can have their first litter at three months of age, long before they are fully grown which can take up to five years.

Pigs are not the pet of choice for most people, but they make great companions for many.


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