Are pigs the New Dog?
By: Tarah Maurice
It may not cross one’s mind to own a farm animal up until now, but get ready to consider sharing your home with a pig.
Originally meant to be put in a zoo and intended for display, these miniature pink pets were first imported into the United States from Vietnam in 1985.
Pigs became a massive fad; the first potbellied pigs sold for up to a whopping $25,000. Despite the decrease in cost and demand, these undeniable creatures are still a popular pet.
These adorable animals definitely have their pros and cons, just like any other animal. A pig could be a companion for life, but only for the right caregiver.
On the bright side, pigs are very intelligent, clean, and are generally non-allergenic. They are also odor-free, flea-free, charming, and inexpensive to feed.
Miniature pigs will effortlessly roll over for a tummy rub, as well as snuggle with you. But don’t be fooled‒their behavior is widely different from that of a dog.
While dogs are quick and eager to please their caregiver, pigs take time to earn trust, respect and cooperation.
Pigs are quite trainable in ways similar to a dog. They can be house trained, leash trained, and will even learn a few tricks.
They can learn at a faster rate than dogs. These pot-bellies can learn to open the fridge, cupboards, and the pantry.
They are capable of learning to slam dunk a basketball, play a piano, golf, play soccer – even jump through hoops, dance, ride a skateboard and so much more.
However, their intelligence can make them a bit of a handful. Housebreaking comes very easy to pigs. They explore with their snouts and in doing so, may knock over items in the house and can damage the landscaping outside.
These pets are not only curious and playful, but also headstrong and sensitive. They will become easily bored, grumpy, depressed and possibly destructive if not provided with enough activities, enrichment, and adequate attention.
While pigs are generally gentle by nature, they are also territorial and emotional. Pigs are creatures that are easily overfed and tend to become obese.
Miniature pigs should not be fed chocolate or salty foods. More importantly, try not to overfeed them, as the pig’s behavior and health might turn south.
Believe it or not, pigs can become aggressive when competing for food or attention. Making the pig work for their food by putting it in a ball can remedy this.
From day one, the owner should set firm rules and enforce them. Consistent practice, praise for good behavior, and correction/redirection with lots of repetition and patience will help produce a well-mannered pig that has a good relationship with its family.
If you are looking for a little more love in your life, pigs become attached to their human families instantaneously. When experiencing separation, a pig may even become depressed.
Make sure a pig is truly the right fit for you and your family members. Many pigs become abandoned by on the roadside by owners who could not keep up. So, research must be done when seriously considering having this adorable farm animal as a pet.
Each city and county has its own zoning codes about pet pigs. Many cities in fact prohibit farm animals from the area.
On the other hand, many places have revised their codes to allow pot-bellied pigs to be adopted since miniature pigs are considered companion animals. Thus, before getting a pig, a check of the city, county and homeowners association to determine the exact code is needed.
Though dogs will never stop being the number one companion, these miniature pigs have a big personality of their own.
A curious pig roaming around your house, doing extraordinary tricks and showing you undeniable love is a life filled with never-ending adventure.