March 1 is National Pig Day, and there’s no better time to look at pigs as pets than now. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, sisters Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne Rave created the holiday in 1972. A 1980 interview with Mary Rave for the Virgin Islands Daily News states that the observance is to recognize the pig’s rightful place in the animal kingdom.
Rave stated the following to the Daily News.
“The purpose of National Pig Day, March 1, is to accord to the pig its rightful though unrecognized, place as one of man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals.”
Fast forward several decades and people aren’t just recognizing the pig for its attributes, but more people are opening their homes to pigs as pets. Although there are hundreds of pig breeds, there are two main domesticated breeds that are common as pets. These are the pot-bellied pig and the miniature pig. Miniature pigs go by many other names, including teacup pigs, mini pigs, micro pigs, and designer pigs. Pot-bellied pigs are miniature Chinese, Asian, or Vietnamese pigs and may go by those names.
According to the American Mini Pig Association, those who choose to bring pigs into the home should be prepared for the financial and time commitment involved. Also, pig owners must understand the nature of pot-bellied and miniature pigs and how they acclimate as pets. You may find more information about miniature pig breeds that includes more than the pot-bellied pig at the American Mini Pig Association Education site.
There is a great deal of misconception and negative, false beliefs surrounding pigs as pets. Have you ever stopped to think how many negative sayings and phrases are common in the English language that uses the analogy, simile, metaphors, or idioms of pigs or hogs in a derogatory manner? Some examples include eat like a pig, go hog wild, road hog, as fat as a pig, sweat like a pig, eat like a hog, stink like a pig, go hog wild, and to cast pearls before swine. It should come as no surprise that pigs have a bad reputation, and people are unaware of their redeeming qualities and attributes.
Whether bringing a pot-bellied pig or other mini pig into the home, you will need to check with your homeowner’s association, zoning laws and regulations, or other pertinent laws regarding the pets you are allowed to keep. While miniature pigs are becoming popular pets, many regions still consider them livestock animals. Due to that classification, there are laws you will need to abide by. Some areas might not allow pet pigs on the property or in the home, so check first and determine your local laws that govern pigs as exotic pets.
The breeder you select will determine the health, sociability, and temperament of your pet pig. Look for breeders that socialize pigs from an early age and one where you can freely interact with the pig before making your final selection. You want to ensure the pet pig you choose is thoroughly weaned and socialized. Choose from piglets older than 8-weeks-old. A piglet younger than eight-weeks-old is too young for adoption or sale. Always check the breeder’s reputation and background.
Keep in mind that mini pigs still grow into larger animals. A miniature pig can weigh as much as 40 pounds, and those who opt for a full-size pot-belly pig may end up with a pet weighing as much as 150 pounds. Mini pigs weigh considerably more than most miniature dogs, and some pet owners aren’t aware that their teacup pig will grow into a nearly 50-pound animal. Do your research before bringing a pet pig home.
With careful planning and research, a pet pig can be a wonderful addition to the family. Here are some videos that will help explain the benefits and precautions involved when having a pet pig.
[Featured Image by Andresr/iStock Getty]