Skip to main content

Obsessed with pot-bellied pigs? Your guide to these adorable animals

Not interested in barking or meowing? You could give squealing a try. While people have kept pigs as farm animals for thousands of years, their popularity as a housepet has taken off recently, aided by some especially cute piggies with huge followings. As both owners and animals alike will tell you (okay, not literally in the case of the swine), these guys certainly aren’t a good fit for everyone and require very specialized care and a lot of space. But don’t discount them right away, especially if you are allergic to dogs but want a large beastie running around the place. Here’s what you need to know about pig adoption before bringing Babe home. 

Piglet sits on a towel in her house
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Where will my pig live?

Ideally, you would get a very young animal and raise it up to instill good behavior. With the proper training (and heaps of patience), you can teach your hog to go potty outside, use a dog-door, and even do tricks. But just because you’ll be snuggling up with your new little one doesn’t mean she can live inside all the time. Pigs need space and lots of it. You should only take one in if you have enough, both inside the home and out of it. Lastly, though you can own a pig in most places, some areas classify them as livestock and you’ll need a permit for that, not to mention proper fencing. Carefully research both state and city laws before you make the decision (and don’t even try your condo board).

What do pot-bellied pigs eat?

If you’re looking for someone to munch on the leftovers, give the pig a pass. Just because pigs will eat anything, doesn’t mean they should. Remember, as livestock, they aren’t being raised for comfort and longevity. You want more for your porker! Stick with commercial pellets mixed with a few low-sugar fresh fruits and veggies, like broccoli, green beans, and corn. And most importantly, keep her water dish fully stocked and plenty of places to cool off all around the house. 

How can I take care of a pig?

As with all pets, your newest addition requires a bit of specialized care, starting with the vet. You want to find someone with experience and the proper setup to give the right vaccinations and teach you how to groom her properly. That means cleaning her little hoofs and preparing for her big yearly shed. On top of that, you need to make sure the new lady of the house is entertained. Many owners choose to go with a pair for this exact reason so they keep each other company. Some pigs also bond with the other pets of the household like a large family dog. Teach her to play games and hide treats in toys to figure out: you want her mind as engaged as her body. Lastly, your house will have to bring another crate into the fold for her so she has a space just for pigging out.

Pet pig sleeps on a large bed in her home
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Do pigs make good pets?

We certainly think so, but only for the right owners. Think through these things critically to confirm you’re up to the challenge and ready to be a pig parent.

Pros

  • They’re super smart and will learn quickly, even faster than many dogs
  • Pigs live to be about 15 when cared for properly
  • As highly social creatures, they’ll bond with the whole family and each other

Cons

  • Your pig won’t reach her full size for up to six years and she could make it to 150 pounds
  • When bored, they can turn destructive and wreak a lot more havoc than your average cat or dog
  • Their grooming and vet care are so specialized, you may have trouble finding the right team

One last really important thing, don’t fall into the teacup pig trap. While they may start off very small, they almost never stay that way. You could come home with a tiny piglet that is supposedly full-grown and wind up with over 100 pounds of animal just a couple of years later. In cases where the little beasts are diminutive, it’s usually because of malnourishment and those sweeties don’t typically make it as it can be hard for them to recover. As always, find a reliable breeder and know exactly what you’re getting into first.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
Best reptile pets: These are the 5 most affectionate reptiles you can welcome into your home
These friendly reptiles will make great additions to your family
Basking Chinese water dragon

When you picture an adorable pet, you probably don't visualize an iguana. Reptiles aren't generally considered the cutest of animals, but that doesn't mean you can't find a cuddly one. Whether you're looking for a new buddy for yourself or for your lizard-obsessed kid, there's a reptilian beast out there that will work great in your home.

With proper socialization, these guys can learn to be handled daily, some even by children. If you want a new pet that enjoys human company, consider one of the most affectionate slitherers — they're the best reptile pets for handling.

Read more
Why is my dog whining? 6 common reasons and what you can do to stop it
If you wonder "why is my dog whining?" — check out the possible causes
Sad dog resting his head near a shoe

Let’s be honest: No matter how much we love our fur babies, living with a dog that's a whiner can drive you crazy. Whining can be irritating, heartbreaking, and even anxiety-inducing for owners. Whether it's distracting you from work, making you sad to leave the house, or making you worry that something is wrong with your dog, figuring out why your dog is whining and what you can do about it is important.

No matter how disruptive it is, always remember that whining is a form of communication for our dogs, say training experts at the ASPCA. The key is to properly interpret the noise and figure out how to work with her on it; to try to answer the question, "Why is my dog whining?"

Read more
Why do dogs sleep under the covers? It all comes down to nature
Does your dog enjoy burrowing under the blankets? This could be why
A woman wearing a sleep mask over her eyes snuggles a Pug with his tongue out in bed

If you've ever tossed and turned all night, you know it's frustrating. Finally, finding the perfect sleeping position feels oh-so-good. Both humans and their furry friends can appreciate the bliss of discovering a comfy spot beneath the blankets, though it might not seem as normal for your pup’s sleeping routine. So, why do dogs sleep under the covers?
The reasons behind this adorable behavior may not surprise you, and they’re just as cute as you’d expect. Be careful while you read, though, or you may convince yourself to share your bed more often. Your dog will certainly get behind the idea of sharing a bed, but you might have to get used to having a lot less space while you sleep.

Why do dogs sleep under the covers? Here's what experts say
You like to believe that your fur baby gets under the blankets just to get closer to you … and you may be partially right. Because dogs are pack animals, feeling the touch of a family member while sleeping can be the ultimate form of comfort and warmth. Your presence lets them know they’re protected and part of the pack, even if they only snuggle up when they feel anxious. This may feel especially comforting for pups who grew up with their siblings — just think about puppy piles.
Snuggling under the covers has instinctual roots, too. Not long ago, dogs and wolves were born, raised, and sheltered in dens or caves, so it’s easy to see why your pup might feel cozy in a small space of their own.
Canine behaviorist Clarissa Fallis explains that certain breeds might be even more likely to burrow. Small hunting breeds like dachshunds and beagles "tend to mimic their innate behavior of flushing out small animals from tunnels by burrowing." She goes on to explain, "Larger burrowers, like huskies, live in extreme temperatures that make the instinct to burrow under the snow crucial for staying warm."
Whether your fur baby is actually cold, anxious, or just used to a routine of denning behavior, burrowing is generally not a cause for concern. Of course, there are a few safety precautions you can take to make it the best experience possible.

Read more