Are Pot Bellied Pigs Good Pets?
Published on February 14, 2020 by arothstein
Would you ever consider adopting a pot bellied pig? Choosing a career as a vet tech gives you have the opportunity to work with many animal species. Working as a vet tech gives you the opportunity to enrich the lives of animals and their owners. With an education as a vet tech, you will also understand the temperament and benefits of owning certain pets, like the pot bellied pig.
What Animals Do Vet Techs Care For?
Cats and dogs need veterinary care, but companion farm animals have health needs and should have regular visits with a veterinarian. Most animals categorized as farm animals require regular wellness exams and vaccines. One farm animal that’s popular as a family pet is the pot-bellied pig. A lot of people wonder if a pot-bellied pig is a good pet. Read on to find out if a pot bellied pig is the fit for you!
What You Should Know About Pot Bellied Pigs
The pot-bellied pig is a small domestic animal that’s a traditional breed of Vietnam. The pot belly breed was the most dominant in the country until the 1970s. Due to prevalent inbreeding throughout the country, the breed is now endangered in Vietnam. In the 1960s, small numbers of the breed were transported to Sweden and Canada. The breed became popular in Europe, where many of the animals lived in habitats in animal parks.
Pot-bellied pigs have excellent temperaments. The pigs love to play and are very intelligent, and they’re independent like cats and affectionate like dogs. The pigs can live harmoniously around cats because they’re usually indifferent to felines. However, dogs and pigs have different temperaments. It’s a good idea to test out the arrangement between pigs and dogs, especially when food is involved.
Pot-bellied pigs are fun companions, are curious, and enjoy being with their owners. These adorable pigs love to be pet, especially on their belly.
Characteristics of Pot-Bellied Pigs
The pot-bellied pig is the most common variety of small pig breeds. There’s a lot of diversity in their appearance and size due to their genetics. These little animals reach puberty at about three months old. However, they continue to grow until they reach three years old. Full maturity is achieved when the pigs are six years old. A healthy pot-bellied pig can live up to 20 years.
There are variations in the color of the skin, where some pigs are brown or black, while others are gray. Owners must keep a close check on the diet of these animals because they may grow enormous if the food intake isn’t monitored. Pot-bellied pigs may grow as tall as 16 to 20 inches and typically weight around 80 to 100 pounds.
Guidelines for Owners
Pot-bellied pigs are often taught obedience like other species, but their owners must know how to treat them. Piglets are usually separated from their mother as early as four weeks. As soon as the piglet is taken from its mother, owners should start getting it weaned and accustomed to solid foods. At about a month old the piglets should begin to recognize different smells and not feel fearful around other animals and humans.
Proper training is a “must” for this species. Pigs are stubborn creatures if they aren’t treated properly and should be trained by a pet owner. Provide these little animals with a lot of love, attention, and training, and they will be a friend for life. These pigs may learn to walk on a leash and are content to have their owner pet and even bathe them when they learn to trust humans.
Pot-bellied pigs can learn to go to the bathroom in a litter box or outside if trained properly. When the pig goes to the bathroom in the correct place, feed them a treat. Every time they go to the proper place and use the bathroom, give them a treat. After a day or two, begin to pet them when they are in the correct place and they will continue to use the proper bathroom spot.
Females are usually more intelligent, and males have a playful streak. Both males and female pot-bellied pigs can have a lot of fun and be exciting. With enough room, two pot-bellied pigs can be adopted since they love being around others of their species. However, they also enjoy being around other animals.
Caring for a Pot-Bellied Pig
Pot-bellied pigs can live outside as long as it doesn’t get too cold. Remember that these animals aren’t protected by a coat of fur like dogs and cats. Whether a pig lives exclusively outdoors or is only outside part of the time, an adequate shelter that keeps it protected from the cold weather and the heat of the summer is a must.
An insulated house for pigs with a heat source should be a necessity. Ideally, the pig shouldn’t stay outside for too long in the cold weather to prevent frostbite. On cold days, pigs are like other animals and love a warm rug or blanket to snuggle into. Pigs should have extra calories during the winter because they use more energy staying warm.
The cost to feed pigs is similar to a dog. The supplies you’ll need when adopting a piglet are a leash and harness, food and water bowls, a warm, comfortable shelter if the pig is to live outside, and a place for litter or a sandbox.
How Often Does My Pot Bellied Pig Need to See the Vet?
Pot bellied pigs should see the vet once a year unless there’s a health issue. Pigs are like dogs and cats in one respect; they need vaccinations to stay healthy. The vet or vet tech will clean the pig’s ears and eyes, clean and trim the teeth, and give the pig a refreshing bath. The hooves should also have a trim during the examination. A pig should have a bath every two to three months. A bath every couple of months improves the pig’s skin quality and keeps them healthy.
What Do Pot-Bellied Pigs Do During the Day?
Some of the activities pot-bellied pigs enjoy are rooting in the ground, digging up holes and looking for food. They like to walk around and explore, lay in the sun, sleep or relax, and love being petted.
A stimulating environment is an essential consideration before adopting a pig. Most people don’t realize that pigs are sensitive, intelligent animals that require physical and mental stimulation. Providing activities that are fun and challenging for the pot-bellied pig will keep it happy and less likely to get into trouble.
Enrichment Activities for Pot Bellied Pigs
Keep enrichment activities fun and challenging. Switch things around, so the pig doesn’t get bored. A good example is instead of feeding a pig all of its meals in a bowl, some of the feed can be sprinkled around a yard or enclosure for it to root around in. Not only is this exercise stimulating the brain, but it’s also getting exercise.
What Is the Best Diet for a Pot Bellied Pig?
Like any other species, pot bellied pigs have unique nutritional needs. Pigs are omnivorous, which means they can eat almost anything. However, this doesn’t mean you should feed whatever they want. They love to eat alfalfa pellets without the seeds, and a variety of vegetables.
Pet Obesity and Pot Bellied Pigs
Pigs love to eat and can gain too much weight if their diet isn’t strictly monitored. To make certain your small breed pig is getting the proper nutrition, the diet should consist of a low-calorie/high-fiber diet consisting of one to two percent of its body weight in dry feed. The dry feed that’s used to fatten farm pigs isn’t appropriate for companion animals since they can get obese. Pet stores that cater to farm animals will have a special feed of pellets formulated for pot bellied pigs.
Before You Adopt, Do Some Research
Pot bellied pigs are delightful pets for the right owner. Before adopting a pot bellied pig as part of the family, make sure to understand what the animal’s needs are for diet and veterinary care. Also, understand the requirements for the training and daily care of a pig. Remember that the pot-bellied pig will get up to 80 or 100 pounds and live for fifteen to twenty years.
Make sure your home is zoned for farm animals. Make sure that you have a big backyard for them to run and root around in. They can also be loud, so make sure to consider your neighbors before adopting a pot-bellied pig.
Space to Grow
Keep in mind that a pot-bellied pig has a mindset similar to a three-year-old for as long as it lives. When they’re small, they don’t require a lot of space but can grow quite large and need plenty of room. Make sure to only adopt from a reputable sanctuary or rescue. Adopting any animal is a lifetime commitment, and they all deserve the best care their owner can provide.
Want to Learn More?
Did learning about pot-bellied pigs interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.
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