Pigs as Pets: The Good, The Bad, and The Piggy

Are you considering a pig as a family pet? Let us begin by saying a pig is not a dog. A pig is also not a cat. A pig is…a pig…which means they are going to be a completely different kind of pet than you are used to having.

Let’s start with the grim details. It has been stated that 95% of pet pigs are re-homed, abandoned, or given away at least once in their lifetime. This is one of the main reasons pig rescues and sanctuaries like our exist. A quick search online or on social media for pet pigs will reveal many being sold or given away.

This is mostly due to the lack of information people have regarding owning a pet pig. Let’s take a look at what to expect if you are interested in having a pig as a family pet.

There is no such thing as a micro or teacup pig

Mr. Banks, a “mini pig”, seen at 5 weeks old on the left, and at 6 months old on the right. He will not be fully grown until 3 years old.

If you plan on having a mini pig for a pet, the pig will get large over time. The term “mini pig” means a smaller breed of pig and not a huge farm hog. There are many types of mini pig breeds out there, some in which the pigs grow to over 300 lbs in size (Kune Kune pigs). Even the smallest mini pigs such as smaller pot bellies get up to 80 lbs.

Those photos and videos you see online of super small pigs advertised by breeders as “teacup” pigs are either baby pigs that are only several weeks old or piglets that have been starved to keep them down in size.

If you plan on having a pig as a pet, plan on having a pet equal to that of a very large dog.

Pigs need care different from dogs or cats.

Pigs enjoy the company of other pigs and are happiest when part of a herd.

Pigs are one of the smartest animals on the planet. They have the intellect equal to that of a 3 year old human child. You can housebreak them just like a dog and teach them all types of commands and tricks (one of our pigs can even play the toy piano on command!).

This also means they need constant attention and stimulation to prevent depression or destructive behavior.

If you have a dog, you know that you can put a dog in a room by itself while you leave the house for an extended time and it will wait patiently for you to come home. Not a pig. If a pig is left alone for an extended period, it will scream, squeal, become depressed, and even become destructive. We have seen cases online of where pigs ripped out drywall in a room because it was left in there too long.

Pigs are social animals, which means they always want to be part of a herd. They do best when around other pigs or when constantly in the companionship of a human. Oddly enough you may find it easier to have two pigs rather than just one as they can spend a lot of time with one another and develop a bond (so they are not always relying on you for attention).

Pigs are outdoor animals by nature

Pigs love the outdoors where they can use their nose to root.

A pig’s life is that of eating, sleeping, and rooting. They were born to push and dig up the ground with their nose looking for food. Even if you plan on having a pig indoors, you must provide it with adequate outdoor time on a daily basis.

This also means that you will have to dedicate a portion of your lawn or property to the pig and prepare for it to become a dirty, muddy mess. We can fence in a section of our property for a new pig and within a few days the grass will be completely overturned yielding a muddy pen (to the delight of the pig).

When indoors, pigs can be taught to obey rules, but they will always try and test you. Prepare for your trash can to be tipped over, cabinet doors opened, and floors to be covered with pig snout marks.

Adopt a pig…do not buy from breeders

95% of pigs are re-homed during their lifetime. Adopt and give a pig a second chance at happiness.

While this article may seem like it puts a negative spin on pigs as pets, our purpose is to educate those so they know what they are getting into should they choose to have a pet pig. A pig owner must be patient, tolerant, disciplined and have time to devote to proper training.

That said, pigs are such special creatures and so many of them need a home. While we do not adopt out any of our pigs (they have come here to live forever), there are many organizations all over that have pigs in great need of a loving family.

If you are convinced on having a pig as a pet, please do not buy from a breeder! Adopt a pig who has been abandoned and needs a second chance at life.

We are here to help!

Contact us with your pig questions!

We are more than happy to help answer any questions regarding pig ownership if you are thinking about adopting. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

You can also help our pigs by making a donation which goes directly towards their food, shelter, and care. All amounts matter and no donation is too small!

2 thoughts on “Pigs as Pets: The Good, The Bad, and The Piggy”

    1. Good question! First of all, the pig needs a large enough area to occupy itself in. They are smart animals and need to be able to keep themselves entertained. It should be an area outdoors that you don’t mind having the ground dug up and completely destroyed, as rooting is their number one activity. Second, the area should have shady spots where the pig can lay down and get cool on sunny days (and also to prevent sunburn). The outdoor spot also needs to be fenced in property. Pigs are expert escape artists and will really try to get loose if bored. We use welded hog paneling (sold at Tractor Supply) reinforced with treated wood posts where the panels are connected and metal t-posts every 3 to 4 feet. For piglets, burying the hog paneling slightly into the ground can also be a good idea to prevent them from rooting under the paneling.

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