Pigs are very intelligent animals, on par with dogs. If you know that you could not handle owning a dog because of time requirements, then a pot bellied pig is probably not the right pet for you. Pot Bellied Pigs are correctly referred to as Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pigs and can live about 12- 15 years. On average they get about 18-22 inches tall, and may weigh just over 100 pounds.
Before getting a Pot Bellied Pig check to make sure you are allowed to have them in your area according to zoning and by-laws.
Purchase and Selection
As with most pets, you are best to buy directly from a breeder or adopt from an animal shelter. When you buy from the breeder you should be able to see one, or both, parents. This will give you a good idea on the size your piglet will get. If the breeder says things like “feeding less will keep it small” do not support them, this is a form of cruelty and will more likely result in a dead pig rather than a small one.
Avoid anyone trying to sell you a “teacup” Pot Bellied Pig, these are pigs who have been stunted through poor genetics, or poor nutrition, they have much shorter lifespans and numerous health concerns. Do not fall for the cuteness and do not reward unscrupulous breeding.
Your piglet should be no younger than seven weeks old. This allows for critical socialization while with its mom. Make sure it is healthy and active. Get a health guarantee.
Male pigs, boars, do not make good pets unless they are neutered, which should be done before they are 3 months old. Female pigs, gilts, are usually alright but may exhibit problem behavior when in season, so for this reason females should be spayed.
These guys can be house pets, outdoor animals, or a combination of both. If you are going to keep your pig outdoors only you should spend a lot of time with it or provide it with a friend. A pig who is not kept mentally satisfied will become bored and destructive, much the way a dog would.
If you are keeping your piggy outside it mush have at least 40 square feet of space per pig, or ideally more. A small shelter to protect them from the wind, sun, and rain is important. They are not very tolerant of cold weather so cannot live outdoors in colder climates without a heat source in their shelter, this can even be a light bulb. Sheep fencing works well for Pot Bellied Pigs.
If you want to keep your pig indoors you need to start slowly, just like you would with a puppy. Confine it to a smaller space in the house, offer it a litter box or make sure you take it outside frequently. Close all doors leading to stairs. Remember a pig has hooves, and will find walking on a slippery floor to be difficult. You can help by getting a cheap rug or putting down some towels.
Keep electric cords and pretty much everything else out of the way and off the floor. A curious pig will play with what ever it finds. Dog toys for medium and large dogs work well at pot bellied pig toys.
Feeding and Care
Livestock feed stores sometimes carry prepared food for pet pigs. If not you should pick up a feed for regular sized pigs and supplement with treats. Pigs are omnivores, if your pig is outdoors it will try to eat grasshoppers and bugs that come into its enclosure, so do not use any pesticide sprays around your home and garden. Your pig will love most fruits and vegetables and while most vegetables are alright, try to keep fruits to simply being an occasional treat. They can have brown, or multi-grain, bread. Pigs should not have chocolate, onions, or Tomatoes.
Pigs will drink water out of a non-spill bowl or large bucket.
Pot Bellied Pigs can be trained like a dog to walk on a leash and harness. The best training method is to start off in a small space and bribe the pig to walk forward with bread. Make sure he or she knows it is on a leash and is going where you want it to go, not where it wants to go. You can buy soft brushes to use on them, remembering their skin is sensitive. The bushing will be something they can enjoy and will help keep them clean. In the summer you need to realize your pig may roll in the mud/dirt to relieve or protect itself from bugs and the heat of the sun.
Check with a veterinarian to see what kind of vaccinations are required in your area.
Pot Bellied Pigs will have difficulty using stairs, if your house requires the pig to go up stairs to enter, you should provide a ramp and get him or her accustomed to using that.
Remember these guys are extremely intelligent, if you allow your pet pig to become bored it will be destructive. Provide exercise and mental stimulation in the form of toys, you can even provide a childs sand box and hide toys in the sand.
Pigs do not respond to punishment for discipline. However if you raise your voice they will understand your displeasure.
Keep an eye on your pets hooves, if they get long they will need to be trimmed.
A good alternative to a Pot Bellied Pig is a dog or a miniature horse.