Can Pigs Fly? At This Point, Probably Not

In the past couple months, Chicago-based United Airlines joined several other airlines in limiting commercial airline travel for pets. The provider tightened the rules for comfort and emotional support animals; amphibians, goats, hedgehogs, insects, non-household birds, and all animals with tusks, horns, and hooves are no longer allowed to fly as service animals. To be honest, I don’t blame them; increasingly, passengers are bringing inappropriate pets into plane cabins under the guise of “emotional support.” Not only does this decrease the validity of emotional support animals (some of us actually need them to handle flight anxiety!), it’s just plain rude.

 

Now, I would love to travel with my pet potbellies if I could. But, even with these new airline restrictions, there are a few major issues with bringing a pig on an airplane.

 

  1. They’re huge! And I mean HUGE! Even the smallest adult potbelly pig, though still adorable, will weigh at least 70lbs—far more than the standard 20lb pet limit most airlines impose. It’s nearly the same as bringing a full-grown human child, albeit one who doesn’t speak, might scream, and can’t understand when you tell him to calm down.

 

  1. They’re loud! If you’ve never heard a pig scream… well… consider yourself lucky. Actually, watch this video. Incessant barking will get dogs—even service dogs—kicked off airplanes. I can’t imagine a pig keeping calm for a whole flight, and the only thing worse than a screaming baby and a barking dog is an unhappy potbelly pig.

 

  1. You can still bring your pet on vacation. If you really want to bring your pig, fly him as cargo. It’s expensive and time-consuming, but if your pet really needs to get somewhere, it’s an excellent option. Rates and availability vary by airline, but it’s worth looking into if you need your potbelly to join you on that beach getaway.

 

Now, of course, there is the occasional success story. In early 2016, this 28-year-old woman brought her pig, Hamlet, on a flight to Miami without an issue. Now, odds are that your pig is not as well-behaved as Hamlet, and even if an airline allows pet pigs, you and the animal will be better off if he just stays at home.

Preventing a Tantrum

Potbelly pigs are wonderful pets. They’re smart, loyal, and affectionate, making them excellent companions. However, as with the best of us, pigs are susceptible to bad behavior. If you’ve lived with a pig for any period of time, you’re likely aware of the worst behavior a pig can exhibit: throwing a temper tantrum.

Yes, you read that correctly. Pigs, just like human, have temper tantrums. This happens when they are upset for any reason—maybe you’ve been out of the house all day, or maybe they’re hungry. Maybe they want to play with their favorite toy, or perhaps they don’t like their new playmate. Pigs can throw a tantrum for nearly any reason, no matter how trivial. When they happen, they are loud, obnoxious, and—to some of us—pretty funny.

Pig tantrums can be random, but if you recognize patterns in your pig’s behavior, you can take steps to prevent them. For example: if you know your pig throws tantrums when you work long days, ask a friend to stop by and hang out with him for a little while. If your pig starts to get hungry at around 5:00PM, orient your schedule around getting home for that feeding.

Unfortunately, tantrums are inevitable, even with the most careful planning. If you return home to a grumpy pig, the best thing to do is to give them a little bit of what they want—whether it be food, attention, or anything else. Give them just enough of what they want to quiet the tantrum, but too little for them to be fully satisfied. Pet owners can also put their pigs in “time out,” depending on the severity of the tantrum. Isolate the pig from the rest of the family (human and animal) for 15-20 minutes.

 

Arthritis? In a Pig? What’s the Deal with That?

Potbelly pigs are notorious for developing arthritis. Though many cases have genetic roots, the majority of arthritic pigs develop the condition as a result of obesity. Yes, these pigs have a “pot-bellied” shape, but it is essential for them to maintain a healthy body weight and get regular exercise. Below, we have detailed the ways in which arthritis can manifest in pigs, as well as several common causes.

A brief refresher: Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. It is very common in pigs of all ages, and the cause is generally related to bacteria. Arthritis can manifest in a variety of symptoms depending on your pig’s age and sex. Sows generally experience stiffness and lameness, whereas piglets might shiver, show pain, have a hairy appearance, or—in the worst cases—die suddenly. In weaners and growers, arthritis causes swollen joints, a reluctance to stand, and potential, diamond-shaped lesions.

Potbelly pig arthritis can have several causes. I have listed some of the most common below:

– Knee necrosis
– Obesity
– Navel infection
– Erysipelas
– Trauma
– Faulty iron injections
– Poor sow immunity
– Leg weakness/osteochondrosis
– Streptococcal infection

In many cases, lameness is the only clinical sign of arthritis. However, if you notice that your pig’s legs are abnormally angled, see a professional. If you suspect your pig may be experiencing a health-related issue, see a veterinarian immediately.

 

Training Your Potbelly is Easier than you Think

Potbelly pigs are some of the smartest animals around. Their ability to retain information and react to stimulus makes them a remarkably easy pet to train—whether you want to teach tricks, develop healthy habits, or prevent damage to your home. Additionally, potbellies are food-driven animals, providing a built-in reward for their excellent memories and willingness to learn. If you have the patience to develop a strong bond with your animal, your pet Potbelly will be trained in no time. Below, we have five essential tips to follow.

1. Determine an objective. Figure out exactly what you want your pig to learn. Potbellies can learn tricks, such as shaking hands and sitting, but you can also teach them useful skills–how to use the bathroom, how to ask for food, and how to ask for water.

2. Gain his trust. A pig will only commit to training if he knows he can trust you. If he doesn’t believe you have a reward, he won’t follow through. Give both yourself and the animal time to adjust to each other and the surroundings.

3. Train at the right time. Pigs can be stubborn animals. They retain information best when they are alert and interested. Don’t force lessons on your pig when he doesn’t want to learn—he’ll only resist your commands. Optimal training times are between or just before meals, when he is especially food-driven.

4. Reward your pig with treats. Be sure to have a special treat to reward your pet pig—not normal food. After the initial treat, only give the food to your pig after he has obeyed the command.

5. Use commands. Pigs can easily pick up on words used. While training, stick to the same one- or two-word commands. This will allow your pig to begin understanding the skill. With enough time and patience, he will no longer need a treat as a reward.

 

It’s Coat Blowing Season! Here’s What You Need to Know

Everybody loves summer. The weather, the sunlight, the appearance of freedom from responsibility–summer is every child’s favorite season for a reason. However, for pet owners worldwide, the months leading up to summer can be hectic and stressful. No, I’m not talking about getting that coveted “beach body.” I’m talking about shedding. Coat blowing, to be specific.

As with dogs and cats, potbelly pigs have a major shedding period in the spring and fall. Spring is often the most intense, so anticipate cleaning up a lot of hair. Pigs blow their winter coats in May and June to prepare for the summer heat, but those who live indoors tend to undergo smaller and more frequent shed cycles.

Regardless of your pig’s shedding cycle, you can help expedite the process–all while fitting in some quality scratches and getting ahead on hair cleanup. There are several pig-specific brushes designed to work with your potbelly’s tough-but-delicate skin. Pig owners can easily get ahead of the blow-out by spending a few minutes each day running a brush through the animal’s fur. From there, dump the fur straight into the trash–clean-up is a breeze when you think ahead!

It is essential to remember that no two pigs are the same. Though one of your pigs may have already blown his coat, the other may take another month or two. If you are concerned about your animals’ shedding schedules, you have no reason to stress out. Several factors, including biological variation, can lead to differences in animals: indoor vs outdoor living, geographical temperatures, location, diet, stress levels, and the presence of family or herd members. Even an extremely healthy pig can be difficult to predict.

Can My Pig Get Sunburned?

In a word: yes.

Just like humans, pigs can get sunburned. Unlike cats, dogs, and other pets, pigs—especially potbellies—do not have a dense fur to protect the skin from the sun. Moreover, these burns can be very bad if the skin is not properly protected.

Sun exposure is a major cause for a pig’s habit of covering himself in mud. This layer of dirt helps protect the skin from direct exposure while also protecting them from bugs. However, if you acquire your potbelly young, you may choose to house him indoors. If this is the case, be sure to provide a mud hole (or some type of equivalent) for him to wallow in—it is important for the pet to build this habit for when he may eventually have to move outside.

Moreover, special pig sunscreens are available. If your pig is going to be out in the sun for a considerable amount of time, consider purchasing one of these sunscreens. Our personal favorite is the Pet Pig Sunscreen by Pigs4Ever. When used before sun contact, the sunscreen will protect your potbelly’s hair and skin from the sun’s burning, bleaching rays. Also, this particular brand is Citronella scented, which makes it an excellent choice for protecting your potbelly from bugs.

If your potbelly is sunburned, don’t panic—their pale skin may make the burn seem harsher than it is. You can tell a burn is present when it is warm and tender to the touch, appearing swollen. It will eventually peel, as with a human sunburn, but it is important to keep the area moisturized while the skin peels. An Aloe Vera gel is your best option. Make sure your pig gets plenty of water, shade, and moisturizer while recovering, and take additional preventative measures in the future.

 

Holiday and Party Safety Tips for Pet Pigs

No matter the season, it’s important to practice safe pet maintenance when it comes to large gatherings year-round. Hosting events can be stressful enough, but the added anxiety of wondering, “Hey, did you see the pig eat those flowers?” is the icing on a severely concerning cake. Between food, lights, plant, presents, and people, extra precautions must be taken to ensure your pet piggy’s health and wellbeing. Below, we have listed a few essential tips for keeping your beloved potbelly safe.

 

  • Separate them from the party. You might be tempted to show off your adorable pet, but the noise and excitement can upset a pig. Even pigs who aren’t normally shy may exhibit shy or violent behavior when overwhelmed. Section off a bedroom for your pig to enjoy all by himself.

 

  • Say no to confetti. Strings and strips of thrown confetti may become lodged in your pig’s intestine. If ingested, he might need surgery. It’s better to err on the side of caution.

 

  • Say no to fireworks. If you live in a city or highly residential area, this is likely a no-brainer. Regardless, if there are fireworks occurring outside, they may upset your pig. Secure them in a safe, escape-proof room—especially on the 4th of July or New Year’s Eve.

 

  • Unplug decorations. This is especially important for strands of Christmas tree lights. If your pet doesn’t recognize an electrical cord (i.e. if something new and seasonal shows up), he might bite down on it.

 

  • Ensure your party guests understand your pig’s diet. Though considered to be the vacuum cleaner of pets, pigs should not eat scraps provided by people. Moreover, if you want to gift your pig a holiday treat, make or buy something pig-friendly.

 

  • Know what is or isn’t poisonous. This is important for normal pig maintenance, but it is especially important around major events. Chocolate, alcohol, balsam, mistletoe, pine, and cedar are all highly toxic.

 

Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to my blog, Potbelly Pig of My Heart! My name is Sarah, and I am a potbelly pig fanatic! I’ve grown up with these adorable, unique animals my entire life, and this website is meant to be a place for potbelly enthusiasts to meet, share their stories, and utilize my advice and resources.

 

Potbellied pigs have become popular pets in the past several years. In fact, at the 2010 Golden Globes Awards, vouchers for Royal Dandie Miniature pet pigs (pigs that stay under 40lbs) were given away to guests. These incredibly social and intelligent creatures were popularized by American celebrities in the early 2000s, and their stardom has only grown from there. They’re cute, they’re well-behaved, and—if you’ve had an experience similar to mine—some of the best pets you can keep.

 

However, getting a potbelly is a pretty big investment. Their lives can span between 12 and 18 years, but they have been known to live well into their 20s. Additionally, their more popular name—pygmy, teacup, or the more colloquial miniature pig—is a slight misnomer. Though they start out small, they can grow to be pretty big animals, reaching full maturation after three or four years. Most experts say that your potbelly, regardless of build, should be at least 50lbs. However, it is more common to have a pig that sits right between the 75lbs and 100lbs mark.

 

To this end, most potbelly pig parents don’t quite know what they’re in for when they adopt that cute, 15lb baby. That’s where I would like to help. A seasoned potbelly pig breeder and parent, I know how to care for these tender, smart, and—quite frankly—big animals. However, I know that I am not alone in my expertise and experience. This site will host a variety of forums on all things potbelly pig-related, as well as a blog with some of my how-to tips and guides. If you are seeking advice regarding potbelly care, this is the place to be.

 

Here’s a video of potbelly pigs so you can see these amazing creatures. Enjoy.