Pros and cons to keeping pigs as pets

Dr. Larry Mangum

Veterinarian Appalachian Animal Hospital

People are drawn to pets for various reasons. Self-sufficient cats entice those who prefer independent pets that do not take up much space. Dog lovers might enjoy the companionship and boisterous personalities of tail-wagging pooches. Exotic pet owners appreciate the uniqueness of their reptiles and amphibians and how they may serve as a conversation starters.

Pot-bellied pigs also can make for interesting pets that can make for beloved additions to households. Curious, trainable and very intelligent, pigs offer more as pets than many people may realize.

While pigs are highly trainable and can learn at a faster rate than dogs, the behavior of pigs is quite different from canines. Pigs are regarded as prey and therefore have developed a suspicious nature. It can take time to earn a pig’s trust. Furthermore, pigs can become stubborn, depressed and easily bored if not given adequate attention. This may lead to destructive or aggressive behavior. Mini Pig Info, another pet pig resource, says pigs will constantly test limits. They quickly can learn that squealing will get them attention. Unlike other pets, pigs’ emotions closely mirror those of humans.

Pot-bellied pigs, which originated in Vietnam, are one of the smallest breeds of pigs as compared to what one would find on a farm. Piglets may start out small and cute, but even a smaller pot-bellied pig can reach 100 to 170 pounds in adulthood.

Other factors that can influence if a pig is the right pet for a person:

· Pot-bellied pigs can live an average of 12 to 15 years with proper care.

· Communities have their own specific rules regarding pet pigs. Check if pigs are legal before adopting one.

· Pigs are not apartment dwellers. They will need exercise and access to a yard that allows for rooting and exploration.

· Pigs have a pronounced sense of smell and will immediately know when someone is eating or opening food.

· Finding a veterinarian who is familiar with pot-bellied pigs is key to maintaining the animal’s health and longevity.

We are experienced with pigs and if we can answer any questions you may have, dont hesitate to call us at 423-587-4393