Pot Bellied Pigs as Pets: If They are Good Pets and How Long They Live

So, you’ve been looking around online and you think you may want to adopt a Pot Bellied Pig. This can be a huge commitment and you may be getting yourself into some trouble if you don’t know your stuff! Luckily for you, I have done some research to help you better prepare and make a decision about taking on this new pet.

Do Pot Bellied Pigs make good pets? Pot Bellied Pigs make good pets when given the proper amount of socialization and stimulation in their homes. They can grow anywhere from 60-100 pounds. Their lifespan is typically around 12 to 15 years total if treated properly and purchased from a reputable breeder.

However, there are a few things that you should be aware of before you buy a pig and let it into your home on a whim.

Where to Buy Your Pot Bellied Pig

Zoning Laws

Before purchasing your Pot Belly Pig, it is important for you to understand that if you are living in the States, there are certain Zoning Laws to follow when it comes to owning Exotic Pets. Understanding the laws in your local area will make or break the idea of you keeping a pig in your home.

If you are really thinking of adopting this animal, then you should be willing to do your research!

Before you adopt your pig, you should be checking online or calling ahead to find out the specific Zoning Laws in your community.

If you are planning to call ahead to the Zoning Office, make sure that you can get something in writing first. This way, if you are fought later on down the road about owning a pig, you have something to supply to those who are asking questions.

One good resource has been supplied to you already.

By visiting this website created by Rebecca DiNolfi (a pig owner herself) you can find out some of the Zoning Laws in your County.

When researching your County’s laws, make sure to check if there are any certain requirements or restrictions when it comes to keeping a pet Pot Bellied Pig and that you have spoken to someone about them.

By visiting offices and speaking over the phone, you will better be able to understand what has been determined for your local area.

You should be doing this before you have someone knocking on your door and telling you to rehome your Pot Bellied Pig.

Finding a Reputable Breeder

Once you have found out and understood your local laws, it will be time for you to be looking for a breeder.

In order to find the best breeder out there, try talking to your local vet about who they might recommend so that you will be getting the right pig for you.

Look online and go for a breeder that you can visit in person and feel comfortable with before picking and buying your own Pot-Bellied Pig.

Do not be willing to buy your pig from any outside sources. You could pay for it later when your pig comes out having multiple health problems and behavioral issues.

Breeding has a lot to do with good genetics, so you will want a breeder who knows what they are doing. If you visit a breeder and they are not taking good care of their pigs, this should be a big red flag.

Understanding the conditions that your pet has come from will be a good indicator to you about how they will fair in later years after bringing them home.

Preparing to Have a Pot-Bellied Pig in Your House and What It’s Like

Before you bring any pet home, it is imperative that you have properly prepared your home for their arrival.

This video should be a good resource for anyone who is preparing their home to receive a new Pot Belly Pig.

Chances are you will be bringing home a young pig. You should have the proper amount of room and the proper amenities prepared before they arrive.

For Young Pigs

You will need:

  • 4 ft x 8 ft room
  • Litter box
  • Bed Area (covered)
  • Plenty of blankets (perfect for burrowing)
  • A Baby Gate
  • A Thermometer

Make sure that when you are preparing this corner of your house for your pig, that you place down blankets or towels to keep your pig from slipping if you have floors without carpeting.

When preparing for a pig of any age, you should be thinking of creating a proper outdoor enclosure as well. If you have adopted your pig young, you should have this area finished by the time that they are about a year old.

For the Outdoor Enclosure:

  • Pen Area with Fencing (30 x 40 ft)
  • Dog house
  • Pool (For Cooling Down in the Summer Months)
  • Shade
  • Water Sourc

When keeping your pig outside during the day, try to keep them safe!

Pigs do have natural predators. So, if you are aware of any wild animals or even stray dogs that roam around near your property, make sure that your pigs are locked up safe and tight.

Keeping Your Pig Indoors

If you have checked your zoning laws and you are allowed to keep your Pot Bellied Pig indoors, there are a few things that you should be prepared to do.

Seal your cabinets – Pigs are naturally curious as well as food oriented. They will smell food from a mile away and if it is not locked up tight, your pig may just get into something he or she should not be getting into. This could make them really sick, especially if there are cleaning supplies around.

Get rid of any clutter – Once again, pigs have a curious side to them. They are also nesters at heart and will use anything that you may have laying around for sleeping in. So, if you have anything important left out, go and put it away in a safe spot!

Put a ramp over top of any stairways – To protect your pig’s health, you should avoid allowing them to come and go by using your stairs. It will be better and easier on your pet’s health if you cover any stairs with a ramp when deemed necessary.

Put away any light furniture – Your pig may knock your furniture down from time to time by trying to scratch themselves against it. So, try to keep out your heavy furniture to avoid things from falling over often.

If you are looking for more resources on what it will be like to take care of a Pot Belly Pig, click here for a great video that will teach you all the basics!

Your Pig’s Temperament

So, what will it be like when you bring your pig home? Well, this is the fun part because you get to learn about your pet’s personality.

“I never met a pig I didn’t like. All pigs are intelligent, emotional, and sensitive souls. They all love company. They all crave contact and comfort. Pigs have a delightful sense of mischief; most of them seem to enjoy a good joke and appreciate music. And that is something you would certainly never suspect from your relationship with a pork chop.”

Sy Montgomery, The Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood

Your pig’s temperament will depend on a variety of factors including breeding. However, most Pot Bellied Pigs follow a trend in personality.

One main reason why most pig owners love their pigs is because they tend to stay clean and meticulous. But – don’t pigs love to roll around in the mud? Why, yes they do. But this is mostly a technique they like to use to help regulate their body temperature. Most pigs tend to stay fairly clean naturally.

However, living with a pig does mean that they will smell a tiny bit. But, this odor will not compare to the odor a pig would have when living on a farm, being around manure all day.

You may notice your male pig producing a really bad odor. But, this is a simple fix. Have your pig fixed, and this won’t be an issue for either one of you anymore.

About once a year, your pig will go through a process called “Blowing” their coat. In simpler terms, this means that they will shed their coat entirely about once every year.

You will start to notice that your Pot Bellied Pig is very intelligent and easy to train. For this reason and their sensitive nature, you may often see pig owners offering up these animals in hospitals as Therapy Animals that work best with children and the elderly.

Stimulation and Training

However, due to their high intelligence, Pigs have a constant need for stimulation. One way that they can receive this is through your love and affection and through the companionship of another pig. Just like people, pigs need someone to interact with during the day – especially if you have to go out for the day.

To avoid the chance of your pig becoming lonely and depressed, maybe look into getting him or her a friend to play with when you’re gone.

Stimulation (Or Enrichment) is a super important part of keeping a pig happy and in keeping their brain occupied. If your pig is receiving no stimulation throughout the day, then you may be running the risk of your pig becoming agitated or even aggressive as time begins to pass.

Your pig can get the stimulation that they need in a multitude of ways.

  1. Treat Dispensers
  2. Food Hides/Rooting Box
  3. Toys
  4. Car Rides
  5. White Noise

Treat Dispensers

This is a popular idea among many different pet owners. It’s a similar idea to food hides, except the treats are hidden in one area. Because treat dispensers come in a variety of sizes and can roll around all over the ground, you should be able to account for hours of play for your pet pig.

Food Hides/ Rooting Box

This idea goes back to your pig’s natural instincts. By sprinkling and hiding their food around their outdoor enclosures, you are giving your pet both the physical and mental stimulation that they will need throughout the day.

Your pig will be allowed to utilize that sense of smell and ability to dig that they may have otherwise used to get into something bad. By allowing him or her to root around and even explore, you are helping to prevent your pet from becoming overweight and keeping them from getting bored.

Toys

Shredded Newspapers and Crumpled Phone Books

This idea continues to satisfy your pig’s need to get into things and dig. By crumpling up old phone books and shredding newspapers, your pig can have something to tear into and shred up for hours on end.

Stuffed Animals

Your pig will love anything that makes noises and provides different textures for them to check out. Buying stuffed animals at a pet store can be extremely useful when you need enrichment for a pig. You can find stuffed animals that squeak, crinkle, etc. providing a variety of noises and entertainment for your Pot Belly Pig.

Puzzles

According to the American Mini Pig Association, buying puzzles that are intended for certain breeds of dogs is another good way to keep your pig’s mind busy and at ease.

Pool

More than likely you will already have a Kiddie Pool in your outdoor enclosure for your pig’s benefit and use.

Keeping and buying a pool for your pig will give them the ability to clean themselves and cool down when they need to. Especially since your pig is not able to sweat.

Providing your pig with a pool is also just another form of entertainment for them as he or she is able to roll around and splash water all over themsel and their pen.

Car Rides

(Before you take your pig for a car ride, you should always crate train them first!)

By allowing your pig to go for car rides, you are providing your pet with new environments to get to know, understand, and even explore from time to time.

Getting your Pot Bellied Pig used to taking car rides will also minimize any trouble you may have otherwise experienced when taking them out to see the vet. So, this is truly a benefit for you.

White Noise

Play the radio in the background of your pig’s indoor or outdoor enclosure. Such ideas that act as white noise will be calming to your pet while you are away. It will also act as a safety net and comfort for your pig if you live in a particularly loud area or in times when you may hear fireworks going off at night.

Training

You may have begun to notice just how intelligent your pig is becoming. This intelligence is what makes pigs such great pets and so easy to train.

The best way for you to motivate any animal, but especially your pig, will be through food. So, when House Training or House Breaking your Pot Belly Pig, use that motivation to your advantage.

House Breaking your pig is very similar to that of a dog. Whatever designated area you choose, whether it be outside or in a litter box, you will need to begin by giving your pig a simple command such as “Alright, do your business” or Go Potty.

Once your pig has found their place to go, you should praise them by giving them a good scratch and a small treat.

Here is a good example of what positive reinforcement looks like when training your pig.

Never reprimand your pig too much when he or she goes into places that are not your designated area. By giving your pig a simple and firm, “No” and taking them to the correct spot, they should get the picture.

This course of action also works well when teaching your Pig how to perform a trick or when teaching them how to socialize with others.

Feeding Your Pot Bellied Pig

When it comes to feeding your Pot Bellied Pig, the main thing you want to avoid doing is overfeeding them. This can be very easy for a Pig owner to do. As Pot Bellied Pigs are very motivated by food, they are always on the lookout for a good treat.

However, feeding your pig a few small treats is a good way to help them befriend you.

A good rule for you to follow is to watch and make sure that their belly is not dragging on the ground. If your pig’s belly is doing this, you are likely feeding them too much.

When your pig is young, their feeding requirements will be a lot less than when your pig is an adult. However, the rule when feeding pigs comes down to feeding them about one half cup of food per 25 pounds of weight that they carry.

You should be feeding your pig about twice a day.

Some things that you should be including in your pig’s diet are as follows:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Fresh and Frozen Veggies
  • Pig Pellets
  • Fruit (although limited for sugar content)

As you are feeding your pig, it will be necessary for you to provide them with a healthy, yet varied diet. As you do this, you will be keeping your pig as healthy as he or she can be.

Good Treats

As mentioned previously, your Pot Belly Pig will respond well to treats when the occasion calls for it.

So, what can you use as the occasional treat for your pet pig?

Here are 5 small treats that most Pot Belly Pigs will love:

  1. Bits of Your Pig’s Regular Food
  2. Fresh Fruit
  3. Anything Peanut Butter Flavored
  4. Popcorn
  5. Wild Bird Seed

Try to remember that your pig will take whatever food that they can get from you so, it is easy to overfeed them. Also for nutrition’s sake, you should be limiting the number of treats you feed to your pig.

However, when opportunity arises, it is a good idea for you to use these treats to help you bond with your pig.

Your Pot Bellied Pig’s Health

Exercise

Exercising your Pot Belly Pig should be fairly simple.

Take advantage of your outdoor enclosure by throwing treats around the pen. By doing this, you are forcing your pig to go out and search for the food which satisfies his or her need to search and dig, all while getting proper exercise.

You can also let your pig out in a wider range of space to roam around and play. You should definitely include some toys in this space so that your pig isn’t getting too bored on his own.

Your pig may also decide to run around the space they have been given to get rid of some extra energy. Most pig owners find this quality in their pig to be endearing and entertaining. Watch out though, pigs are fast! They can run up to 11 mph!

Grooming and Bathing

Just like owning any other pet, regular grooming is a necessity for Pot Belly Pigs.

However, most Pot Belly Pigs do not need to be regularly bathed by their owners if they have been given a pool to lay and roll around in when outside. The use of a pool on a daily basis will generally keep your pig pretty clean.

Also, avoiding frequent baths may be necessary if your pig has sensitive skin. Bathing on an almost daily or weekly basis can cause dry skin and irritation in your Pot Belly Pig.

However, on those occasions that your pig needs some help with his or her bathing routine, it is best for you to first ease them into the routine.

This can be accomplished in a series of steps:

  1. Put treats in the tub.
  2. Allow your pig to get used to standing in the dry tub while eating treats.
  3. Slowly begin to turn on the tap, or shower head.
  4. Allow your pig to get used to eating their treat with the water going.

Once you have eased your pig into this routine, they should start to allow you to bathe them on your terms.

Although, pigs love to be brushed! For pigs, brushing can be the same as getting a good scratch on the back! This is something that should be done on a regular basis to get rid of any unwanted dust that may have gotten trapped in your pig’s bristles (hair).

For the most part, while your pig is outside running around, they should be wearing down their hooves on their own. Although, you may want to start trimming your pig’s nails about once every two to three years.

If you plan on trimming your pig’s nails yourself, I would highly advise you to buy a pair of earplugs – your pig will be squealing!

If you are unable to accomplish this task on your own, you can just as easily ask your vet to trim back your pig’s hooves for you.

Male Pot Belly Pigs will also need their tusks trimmed down, so you may want to think about asking your vet to do this for you as well.

Conclusion

So, do Pot Belly Pigs really make good pets?

Well, it really comes down to you and how much effort you are willing to put in to make sure that your pig will have a happy life.

But, as long as you have properly prepared for and purchased your pig from a good breeder, you should have a great long-term friend that is ready to come home with you!

As you are learning about and raising your own Pot Belly Pig, it is important for you to remember that he or she will require daily stimulation and affection from you. Remember, treats are a good way to help you grow closer to your pig!

Being consistent with any enrichment activities will keep your pig docile, happy, and entertained.

Keeping in mind that your pig should not be overfed and given a varied diet will ensure that your pig will be kept at a healthy weight.

As long as you follow these guidelines, you should be guaranteed to have a happy and healthy pet that could live up to 15 years!

Related Questions:

Do Pot Belly Pigs like to cuddle? If by cuddling you mean being picked up, then no, your pig will not appreciate this gesture in the slightest and will let you know – loudly. However, Pot Belly Pigs tend to be very affectionate with their owners and love to be given a good back and belly scratch every once in a while.

What does it mean when my pig wags his tail?There is nothing to worry with this body language. Just as your dog may wag his tail when he is happy, so will your pig! Tail wagging in a pig simply means that he or she is content at that moment. Don’t stress! This means you’re doing something right!

What does it mean when the hair on a pig’s back stands up?This behavior is very similar to most animals, as it could mean one of two things. Either, your pig is feeling happy and content, or he is feeling afraid or aggressive. If your pig’s hair is standing on end because he is feeling territorial, stay away. However, if his hair is standing up after getting a good back scratch, try not to worry.

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