Buying and Caring for Potbelly Pigs

Today many people are looking for differences in their lives. They do not want to be just like everyone else. With this in mind, they decide they need a pet that is different. If you are one of these people, the perfect pet for you may be a potbelly pig.

After making the decision of adding a pot-bellied pig to your household, you will need to decide on where to get the pig. You have two choices, you can get your potbelly pig from a reputable breeder or you can adopt one from a shelter or sanctuary.

If you decide to buy your pig from a breeder, keep in mind that the price of the pig does not necessarily make the pig better than the others. This is especially true when looking for one whose role will be that of a pet. Do not pay more for a “special” bloodline. The bloodline is not important when choosing a pet, but purebred potbelly pigs will be smaller adults than pigs that are not purebred. When buying from a breeder, be sure you go to the breeder’s location to pick up your pig. This will enable you to check out where the pig is coming from, to see if the facilities are clean, are the pigs kept in large pens that are clean? Ask to see your pig’s parents and littermates. Do they appear healthy? Be sure to ask the age of the piglet, do not buy one less than five weeks of age, this is simply to young to be weaned from its mother. You should also pay attention to the actions of the pigs the breeder has, are they socialized to live in a human home? If not, it will be harder to make your potbelly piglet a pet instead of a barnyard animal.

If you have decided to adopt a potbelly pig, you should visit shelters, rescue centers or sanctuaries to find the perfect pig for you. Do not take the first one you come across. Visit several and make sure this is the pig for you. Do not be afraid that you will be adopting someone else’s problem pig, problem pigs will not be put up for adoption until the problem has been corrected. You may even have a chance to adopt a pig that is already housebroken, making that one step you will not have to do. Adopted pigs will be neutered or spayed, which is another step that is already done for you.

Whether you decide to adopt or buy a potbelly pig from a breeder, be sure you are allowed to have a pig at your home due to zoning. Many cities and towns do not allow them or there will be restrictions to owning them. It is better to find out what your city or town’s restrictions are before bringing home your pig.

After checking out the zoning and restrictions, and finding out you are allowed to have a potbelly pig, you must get things ready before you bring your new pet home. You will have to have housing, indoors and out, feed and food dishes, litter box and supplies, as well as grooming supplies. You will also need to know what vaccinations your pig will need and you will have to find a veterinarian who is familiar with potbelly pigs.

Housing for your potbelly pig can be either indoors or out. If you choose outdoors the pig will need a shelter that will keep it warm in cold weather, it needs a small swimming pool and shade to keep it cool in the summer months and it will need a place to root around in with soft dirt. If you decide to have an indoor pig, you will have to “baby proof” you home. Baby locks need to be put on cabinets, especially any pantries. You will have to watch your refrigerator as well because potbelly pigs have been known to open the doors and help themselves to the food. Even if you decide to have an indoor pig, it is a good idea to have an outdoor space for your pig, such as a fenced yard with no dogs.

Feeding the potbelly pig is important. They should be fed a special swine ration that is 14-16% protein. Along with this commercially prepared feed, the pigs can have fresh fruits and vegetables occasionally. Potbelly pigs should be fed in wide, straight-sided, plastic bowls that are about 7 inches in diameter and 2 inches tall, or an aluminum pan that is 11/2 inches tall and 12 inches in diameter.

If you intend to have an indoor pig, you will need a litter box. Even though these pigs are small, a cat litter box will not work. You will need to get a container used to drain hot water heaters or a heavy black mortar-mixing tray to use for a litter box. You can also use a rectangular swimming pool, 30″x45″x4.5″ tall. Do not use cat litter in your pigs litter box they will eat it. Instead, use newspapers or pine wood chips. Place the litter box away from the pig’s food and sleeping areas. But, to begin teaching the pig to use the litter box, place the water dish in an area where the pig will have to stand in the litter box to get a drink. Pigs tend to urinate while drinking, so this will aid in teaching it to use the litter box. Another litter box tip is that some pigs do not choose to poop indoors, so be sure to take your pig outdoor to the same location in the yard to do this and they will learn that this spot is their bathroom.

After getting your home ready for your pig and deciding whether you will adopt of buy, all you have left to do is find a veterinarian who can help you keep your potbelly pig healthy. Your veterinarian will advise you of any health problems your pig may have and help you care for your pig. The veterinarian can also advise you as to what vaccinations your pig will need each year.

Deciding to bring a potbelly pig into your family takes a 12 to 15 year commitment. Your pig will need daily brushing, regular hoof trimming, if you have a male, it may need tusk trimming. You will also need to have your pig spayed or neutered to keep their hormones from causing problems. You will also have a pet who loves to have their belly rubbed and love to snuggle with you.

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