Anyone who owns a pig will quickly tell you how utterly in love they are with their pet, but they’re also likely to warn you that pet pigs are not for the faint-hearted! For a start, there is no such thing as a mini pig—all pigs get bigger with age. Pigs also require lots of care, making them unsuitable for those looking for a low-maintenance pet.
That said, if you are prepared for what you’re getting yourself into, you can soon count yourself among the lucky few who form long, loving companionships with these wonderfully unique animals.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of owning a pig and answer some commonly asked questions!
The 4 Mini Pig Pros
Pigs are intelligent animals! Using positive reinforcement, pigs can be taught tricks in much the same way as dogs. You can train your pig to twirl, sit, come when you call their name, wear a leash or harness, and even use a large litter box.
Pigs are highly motivated by food—something you can use to help you train them!
2. Loving and Emotional
Pigs are capable of loving you back in an extraordinary way. Though it may take a little time, these highly affectionate pets form strong bonds with their herd—which is what they’ll see you as—and express a variety of emotions. Expect your pig to enjoy cuddles and even curl up on your bed if you let them.
3. Hypoallergenic Pets
If you are allergic to cats and dogs but have always wanted a pet, you’ll be pleased to know that pigs have hair instead of fur, which most people are not allergic to. It is important to remember that “hypoallergenic” does not mean an allergy is impossible, just that it happens rarely.
Additionally, pigs shed their hair once or twice a year. They’ll need grooming, brushing, and bathing!
4. Curious, Busy Character
These animals are not going to sit in a corner and sleep all day. A pig may be perfect if you’re looking for a fun, eccentric pet that’ll keep you busy. Expect these bundles of joy to bring plenty of entertainment and character to your life!
The 6 Mini Pig Cons
1. There Is No Such Thing as a Mini Pig
There is no such thing as a mini, micro, or teacup pig. This isn’t really a con if you are aware of the fact before bringing a pet pig home. Unfortunately, many people buy what is advertised as a “teacup” pig only to give it away or abandon it once it becomes too big for their home.
Even the smallest mini pigs, such as a small Pot-bellied pig, can grow to weigh as much as 90 to 150 pounds. Pigs only stop growing when they are between 3–5 years old.
Pigs are intelligent, which is great if you’d like to spend lots of time training them and keeping them entertained. However, it also means that if they don’t get enough mental stimulation and attention, they will soon begin to look for ways to keep themselves busy, including rooting around your home, chewing on your shoes and furniture, and searching in cupboards, bins, and elsewhere for food.
If you have plenty of time to spend on training and playing with your pet pig, this shouldn’t be a problem.
3. Challenging the Hierarchy
Some pigs can display aggressive behavior that is supposed to challenge you for dominance. It’s crucial to set boundaries and a routine and to stick to it, or else you’ll quickly find yourself contending with a pushy, if not aggressive, pig who thinks they’re boss!
4. Separation Anxiety
Pigs are incredibly social and affectionate animals who quickly bond with family members. While this is a beautiful thing, it means that your pet pig can quickly become depressed if left alone; for example, when you want to go on vacation.
Additionally, finding someone to care for your pig can be challenging when you go on holiday.
Pigs love going outside, and if you are thinking of bringing one home, you should ensure you have plenty of space for them to play around in your yard. However, a very natural part of pig behavior is rooting, where they use their snout to push and nudge into the dirt to forage for food and bugs or to dig large holes where they can cool down.
You could try to prevent this by offering them a small pool or mud hole or creating a fenced area where they can root. Rooting behavior can quickly result in a destroyed garden if it isn’t managed correctly.
6. Finding a Vet
If you are thinking of bringing home a pet pig, it’s crucial to first look to see if you can find a vet who can care for them. It can often be challenging to find a veterinarian who also takes care of pigs, and if you haven’t organized vet care in advance, you may find yourself stuck if there is ever an emergency.
Can Mini Pigs Live in Your House?
Pigs can live inside your house if they are given enough space, appropriate bedding, an area to root, and plenty of outdoor space to explore, forage, and root.
How Big Do Mini Pigs Get?
Despite popular online trends, there is no such thing as “mini pigs.” Even potbellied pigs—considered the smallest type—can grow between 90 and 150 pounds, or the size of a large dog breed.
Do Mini Pigs Get Aggressive?
Aggression usually happens either out of fear or when a pig is trying to establish dominance. They do this by charging, nudging, and head-butting. Occasionally they may bite or grab a person’s clothes. While these may seem harmless when the pig is still relatively young, it can develop into a dangerous situation as it grows if it isn’t dealt with quickly.
To prevent aggression, you must set clear boundaries and routines and use positive reinforcement to train your pig.
Do Mini Pigs Like to Be Held?
Pigs are naturally afraid of being picked up. They are prey, and by getting lifted off the ground, they lose their only chance of being able to escape if they need to. With correct socialization and lots of patience, your pig will learn to trust you and will soon come and sit on your lap or curl up beside you. However, it is important to build this bond slowly and over time.
Do Mini Pigs Sleep Through the Night?
Most domesticated pigs sleep for around 7 hours at night and maybe even a few hours during the day. If it’s very hot during the day, they may spend more time sleeping and more time active at night.
Do Mini Pigs Use a Litter Box?
Mini pigs can be trained to use a litter box. However—despite common misconception—pigs are clean animals that will not use a messy litter box. You’ll need to place the box well away from their feeding station and ensure that it is constantly kept clean. On the whole, your pig will prefer to go potty outside.
If you are considering getting a mini pig as a pet, you should first know that there is no such thing as a “mini” pig. Pigs can continue growing until they are around 5 years old, and—unless they are inhumanely starved as piglets—will grow to weigh at least 90 pounds.
These animals are high maintenance, requiring lots of space, attention, training, and mental stimulation. If you have the right home and circumstances to care for a pig the right way, they will reward you with boundless love and affection!
Featured Image Credit: kohanwass, Shutterstock