Mini pigs can live anywhere between five and 20 years, so you should not bring one home on a whim. Mini pigs, despite their small size and fairly pleasant demeanor, are still pigs. You will need an assortment of supplies ready and waiting when you bring your pig home so you can care for him properly.
Understanding Your Mini Pig
Mini pigs are actually miniature potbellied pigs. These pigs are smaller than the traditional potbelly due to generations of selective breeding as well as the breeding of dwarf animals. Miniature pigs still have many of the same needs as their larger counterparts. You should never forget that you are bringing home and caring for a pig, or that your new miniature pig has more in common with livestock than he does with domesticated dogs and cats. Before you make the decision to bring a mini pig into your home, you need to thoroughly research what it takes to care for a pig on a daily basis. It is a good idea to spend time working with a pig breeder or animal rescue association that deals with pigs so that you fully understand the scope of the care you will be expected to give to your pig.
Regardless of the size of your pig, he has natural instincts that no amount of breeding has managed to get rid of. Pigs naturally root in the ground and dig. Your pig will try to root and dig inside your home if he does not have an outdoor enclosure where he can spend time playing, exercising, digging, rooting and generally making a mess. Your pig also needs a place where he can use the bathroom, either in a kitty litter box or outdoors. He needs a safe place to sleep indoors where he cannot get into any trouble, such as a pet crate. You will need baby gates or other sturdy barriers to limit the areas of your home that your pig has access to if the entire house is not pig-proof.
Your pig has to have water available at all times as well as a specially designed miniature pig food that should be given daily. Your pig's veterinarian will be able to tell you how much food your pig needs to sustain a healthy weight. Your pig's veterinarian will provide your pig with his vaccinations and regular checkups. Some pig owners purchase harnesses and leashes so that they can safely take their pigs on walks and out in public. If you choose to litter box train your pig, the box should be filled with shavings or shredded newspaper; pigs will eat regular litter pellets. Pigs have dry skin, so you do not want to bathe them often and may want to use baby oil on your pig to keep his skin from flaking. If your pig spends time outdoors, you will need to use a lotion with sunscreen on his skin. Pigs will sunburn and baby oil will accelerate the problem.
Pigs are naturally social animals and they need companionship. The companionship of another pig can greatly benefit your miniature pig. You also will need to spend significant time training your pig. Pigs are very intelligent and can develop an assortment of unpleasant habits if not taught how to behave properly.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.