MINIATURE PIGS

Dieselpig

 The Miniature Potbellied Pig

 Originating in Vietnam and Thailand in the 60's, new owners are seeking the micro-mini in hopes that their new family member will remain  small. Unfortunately whether you buy a micro, mini, or Juliana they are all basically interchangeable. Some grow to 30lbs. while others grow  to 150lbs.; but the amount you feed and what you feed them is largely to blame. Some breeds like Kunekune, Tamworth, and  Gloucestershire Old Spot have been cross bred to make smaller pigs. The number one reason most pigs are rehomed is their size. Pigs even  mini pigs were developed as food, so their genetics have them gain weight quickly with little food. Overweight pigs just like people develop  arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and even entropion (where their eyelids roll the lashes into their eyes.) Additionally, most small animal  veterinarians will not treat your pig. I have even had owners tell me their pigs were turned away from emergency rooms. It is always  recommended to do your homework and avoid the impulse buy; especially with a pet that can live 15 - 20 years. Finally, most pigs are  STUBBORN, and sweet and smart and stubborn!

 The Following are suggestions I feel Parents should know before getting a Pig:
  1. Basic Training: Pigs are food motivated, so basic commands are easily learned; but don't forget they're stubborn and smart. They                                                  also naturally like to nest and root. Thus damage to carpets, furniture, lawns, even walls can occur. Many owners                                                    litterbox train their pigs, which I recommend. There will be times when they don't want to go out in the rain or they                                                want to go out and eat the acorns which can be toxic in excess, etc. They do have a natural desire to eliminate in one                                              area. This helps with potty training. Because they like to root in the soil and eat what they discover; they are prone to                                            intestinal parasites. It is recommended to remove their feces to prevent soil contamination, as well as routinely                                                      deworm them. It is also recommended to get them use to riding in the car while they are small. We have clients                                                      who must rent a uhaul to bring their pet in. Forcing a stubborn 100lb. pig in a car can be challenging.
  2. Safety:              If a pig escapes, it can be very difficult to catch. We strongly recommend a harness, and teaching your new pig to walk                                          on a leash while they are young. It is important to watch and adjust the harness size as they grow as sores are a common.                                      Care needs to be exercised with young children and dogs. Some pigs bite, and they can easily remove a child's finger.                                            Lots of pigs are great with dogs, but we've seen terrible wounds on both pigs and dogs when they didn't get along. Care should                                also be taken around horses. For some reason horses will often kick or stomp the unsuspecting pig.
  3. Housing:            In Pinellas county pigs are classified as farm animals, pet status is extended only when they are housed indoors.                                                    Additionally, you are only allowed one pot-bellied pig per address. If allowed outdoors unsupervised, pig panels should                                            extend well below the ground, as I've seen holes over a foot deep, which pigs used to escape. Pigs are                                                                  susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer as well as over heating and hypothermia. They need shady areas and raised                                                platforms with bedding. Many enjoy playing in a kiddie pool kinda like mud. They need space to roll in the dirt and play.                                          Indoors they need a bed and blankets they can burrow in. Toys are important to stimulate play and their minds, as well                                          keeping things you don't want chewed, put up.  Hardwood floors and tile can be slippery and throw rugs help with traction.
  4. Nutrition:          All pigs need specific mini-pig food like Mazuri, Lil red, or Ross Mills. Never use commercial pig food as its formulated for                                        maximum growth or dog food. The mini-pig food is formulated from vegetables and has added ingredients to help prevent                                      kidney stones. It's very hard to get a pig to diet and just like us;  it's easier to just avoid the weight gain. I recommend small                                  juvenile pigs be fed 1/4 cup of pellets twice daily. Along with the pellets, I recommend vegetables such as: celery, cucumbers,                               peppers, romaine, kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peas, squash, zucchini and green                                 beans. Other beans need to be cooked. Pigs love treats and most beg and complain that they need more. I recommend                                          fruits be used for treats, because you must be careful about the carbs or sugars. An apple slice or a core is better than an                                        entire apple. You can give kiwi, pears, peaches, melons, grapes or raisins. They all make great rewards for training. They like                                  bananas, including the peel. For that matter they like most of the parts we throw away. Cheerios work well but I recommend                                  limiting to 10 per day. They like peanuts and peanut butter we often hide medications in. Many owners cook treats for their                                    pigs or freeze fruits. Owners should avoid Citrus, Dog or Cat foods, meats, alcohol, dairy, chocolate, sweets,                                               chips and acorns. Not every pig will eat everything, but remember they will go for what they think tastes best, not                                               what is nutritious. So as with our kids we must help guide them in their diet choices. Finally they always need                                                      access to plenty of fresh water.
  5. Care:                 If you do not regularly take your pig for walks on hard surfaces like sidewalks; their hooves will need to be trimmed every                                        4-6mos.  Overgrown hooves quickly become misshapen and make walking difficult. Severely overgrown hooves can become                                    so deformed, that we cannot correct them. Most males have tusks that we trim periodically when they are sedated to have                                      their hooves trimmed. Microchips are generally placed behind the left ear. Spaying and neutering is recommended at 2 mos. of                                age as they mature quickly and can become aggressive. We recommend all pigs be vaccinated with Parapleuroshield a                                            multivalent vaccination. Parasites like sarcoptic mange are common and transmissible to people and other pets.                                                      All these parts of basic care are individually tailored to your pet and his lifestyle. 
Jumi.