Teacup pigs, also sometimes called mini pigs, micro pigs, or teacup potbelly pigs, have been experiencing a recent surge in popularity as domestic pets. Is a teacup pig a pet that might be a good fit for your family? Read on for some pros and cons and common misconceptions about this interesting little creature.
One common misconception seems to be related to the creatures’ size. Even though they’re called teacup pigs, they’re really only teacup-sized when they’re first born. They do grow substantially larger, although they remain much smaller than regular farm animal style pigs and are also substantially smaller than the standard potbellied pigs that achieved popularity as pets some years back. Even though they’re a lot smaller than the average pig, they’re still a lot bigger than the size of a teacup when they’re full grown, making the mini or micro descriptor seem like a bit of a misnomer. Furthermore, it can be difficult to predict to what size a pig will grow and there seems to be some discrepancies amongst the estimates of these creatures’ average size. Some sites claimed an average size of 30-55 pounds (comparable in size to a small or medium dog); other sites estimated an average size of 60-70 pounds, with some specimens approaching 100 pounds (comparable in size to a large dog). Another detail to keep in mind related to a pet pig’s potential size is that pigs are omnivores; they will eat pretty much anything-and they will keep eating as long as food is readily available to them, so a pet owner should maintain an awareness of her pet pig’s diet and don’t overfeed it or allow it to overeat. Make sure it receives plenty of playtime or exercise, too.
Some possible negative aspects of pet pigs include the fact that they’re not cheap. Indeed, they can cost well over $1000 each. In some areas, one may not be allowed to own a pet pig without a livestock license or special zoning ordinance. On a related note, it may be difficult to find an area veterinarian who is trained or skilled in how to treat pet pigs.
Some possible positive aspects of pet pigs include the fact that if you’re a pet lover who happens to be allergic to dogs and/or cats, those allergies may not come into play with pigs. In contrast to the conception of farm animal pigs wallowing around in mud, eating out of messy troughs, and stinking to the high heavens, teacup pigs are clean and odor-free. They are not prone to shedding or fleas. They do share some commonalities with more common household pets, though. Like cats, they can be litter box trained. Like dogs, they can be trained to do tricks. They tend to be intelligent, affectionate, and easily trainable, although pet owners will need to be prepared to invest some time and attention towards their pet pig. As mentioned above, pet pigs will need to be played with and exercised. Like dogs, they can be taken for leash-led walks. Indeed, the general pet care associated with a pet pig is pretty comparable to that of a dog. Their life span is also similar, ranging from about 12-20 years.