Are Pigs the Right Pet For You?
Sun, April 18, 2021

Are Pigs the Right Pet For You?

Pigs have been found to be undeniably adorable, especially when they're small, intelligent, and companionable. They are trainable and teachable. Pigs can be taught how to walk with a leash, use the garden or litter box to go potty, and can even do tricks similar to a cat or a dog / Photo by: olegdudko via 123RF

 

Pigs have been found to be undeniably adorable, especially when they're small, intelligent, and companionable. They are trainable and teachable. Pigs can be taught how to walk with a leash, use the garden or litter box to go potty, and can even do tricks similar to a cat or a dog. Because of these qualities, they've become a candidate for families looking for a pet. Across North America, "micro-pigs," "mini-pigs," "pocket pigs," and "teacup pigs" have become increasingly popular. When searching for these pigs online, no doubt those cute and adorable photos and videos of these pigs will show up. According to Meghann Cant, animal welfare educator for the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA), there is no denying how cute these pigs can look to most people, but how many will remain as cherished still in the long run?

 

Why We Love Pigs 

Pigs are among the most sought after animals, most commonly for the reason that they are a source of our delicious food, the reason why a lot of countries raising millions of them as livestock. According to Statista, an online portal for statistics, the leading countries when it comes to the number of pigs raised in 2018 were China with 440.6 million, the European Union with 150.26 million, and the United States with 73.15 million. China was home to more than half of the global pig population, attributed to the country being the leading pork producer in the world with 55 million metric tons of pork per year. The EU remains second to China, followed by the US, which is a major importer and exporter of pigs. Mexico was the main importer of US pork followed by Japan, South Korea, and Canada.

Pigs have also become popular not just as a source of food but as a pet and companion.

Among pig breeds made popular as pets, the Vietnamese Pot-bellied pig became a favorite in the 1980s. Originally intended for display in zoos, pot-bellied pigs were imported in 1985 from Vietnam to serve as pets and they have remained popular ever since. 

Pigs are among the most sought after animals, most commonly for the reason that they are a source of our delicious food, the reason why a lot of countries raising millions of them as livestock / Photo by: Cathy Yeulet via 123RF

 

One of the reasons to love pigs is that they are actually squeaky clean. Most people imagine pigs running and rolling in mud, but this is just a way for them to stay cool during the summer. If pigs are in temperature-controlled areas, they won’t be rolling around in the mud as much as they do on the farms during hot days. Also, pigs don’t bring home dead animals unlike many of the dogs and cats we know. But, pigs are like dogs in that they are easily trained and can follow commands, ranking among the smartest animals on earth after the dolphins. They can learn to roll over and shake a hoof as easily as learning to open doors, the fridge’s included. Like dogs, pigs have sensitive noses or snouts. 

Pigs often have their snouts to the ground because they use their sense of smell to assess their environments and map out their surroundings. They can smell up to 25 feet underground.

Pigs are hypoallergenic and not high-maintenance. They only require an annual vet visit to receive vaccinations, like all pets, and for hoof trimming. They will not send you to the doctor for allergies and sneezing. Pigs don’t shed and their hair is unlikely to cause allergic reactions, making them an excellent alternative to traditional pets.

Lastly, pigs are pack animals that crave companionship. They communicate affection through their barking, coughing, squealing, and even laughing. They need attention and tummy rubs and shows it by squealing and rolling on their back.

Today's National Problem

Many families have come to accept pigs as pets because of their demeanor that is similar to cats and dogs and because they can also do tricks. But, it is important to note that cats and dogs are not the same as pigs. There are many things to consider if you're planning to adopt a pig as a pet.

The greatest misconception in the world of owning pigs as pets is that the Vietnamese Pot-bellied, domesticated pigs, or mini-pigs stay small. Among the most common pig breeds, the teacup or micro pig is actually a standard farm-breed pig, which means they eventually grow up to three times as tall, with mature females weighing more than 700 pounds and males heavier at almost 1,000 pounds. Eventually, 95% of pot-bellied pigs end up surrendered. The Ohio State News shared that the novelty of owning mini-pigs as pets wear off, with some owners trying to get rid of the pets because they’ve grown too big, too aggressive, and even illegal in some communities. 

Many families have come to accept pigs as pets because of their demeanor that is similar to cats and dogs and because they can also do tricks. But, it is important to note that cats and dogs are not the same as pigs / Photo by: lakhesis via 123RF

 

A survey of 802 humane organizations in seven states found that they have received 4,380 requests to accept pot-bellied pigs or domesticated pigs within an 18-month period, with only 72 accepted. Not all unwanted pet pigs are able to go to humane societies. The study found that 485 slaughterhouses received 4,047 requests to slaughter pigs in the same period. It has been found that many who want and raise pot-bellied pigs are not prepared for the pigs actually growing up.

When choosing an animal for a pet, it is best to know everything and plan for it. It is possible to keep pigs as pets as long as their owners are aware of how big they can actually grow, the restrictions on having a pet in certain municipalities, space for the animal, nutrition, and compatibility with other pets among other concerns.