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Mini Pig Care Guide

Watercolor Flowers

Bedding

 

Indoor: It is a good idea to set up a place in a corner of a room for your new piglet (baby gates work great). Put a dog bed, blanket(s), litter pan, food & water and maybe some toys. If you use a setup like this when you are away your pig will have a safe place to stay. Pigs love company and do very well roaming freely with the family. They love to sleep and snuggle with you! Blankets are very important to pigs. They often pull them around with them, hide and root in them. Pigs are a great companion and desire your attention. Don't be surprised when you see your pig jump up on the couch with you (YES they can jump and sometimes as high as your bed) and follow you around the house. Pigs even love to watch TV and listen to music! Whatever setup you choose it is important to keep the food & water and the litter pan in the same place. Our pigs roam freely through the house but when we are away we keep them in a setup as suggested or put them in an outdoor pen we have for them. 

 

Outdoor: You will want to have a fenced area for your pig and pay special attention to the gate. They are so smart and learn from watching you too! It is best to put a latch on the top and bottom of the gate. Set up a dog house and fill with a soft dog bed and blankets. It is good to have some shade in their pen. It is very important to keep clean water out for pigs at ALL times. Pigs can swim and love to play in water when it is hot outside. They love to play in small kiddie pools. You must be careful when they are young around water. You need to be with them around water the first couple of times. Mini pigs are still a pig and like to root. They are not like regular pigs with this but still they do root. You might want to consider a sand area or a sand box. They love when you hide toys and treats in the sand for them to find. Never, buy anything for your pig that has cedar in it because it is VERY toxic to pigs.

 

Food & Water

 

Diet of your mini pig is extremely important!!! We do not recommend underfeeding or overfeeding a pig. ANY SIZE PIG CAN BECOME OBESE VERY EASILY--without proper food management.  We feed/recommend Nature's Best Organic Mini Youth until 4-6 months of age and then Nature’s Best Organic Adult Mini Pig (sold at Tractor Supply). The feeding amounts listed below are daily feed amounts, so please divide the amount into the # of feedings per day. We recommend feeding your pig twice a day (AM & PM). Most mini pigs can be fed the 2% body weight amount for their daily feedings. But if they are starting to put on too much weight then you will need feed them the 1% daily feed amount. The feed chart below is the recommended daily feed amounts from Mazuri mini pig food.

 

 

You can give your mini pig treats while you are training them but DON’T over do it. Original cheerios are a great treat to use especially when training them.  Never feed your pig avocado or chocolate because these are toxic to pigs. Do not feed your pig caffeine, dog food, cat food or regular pig feed. Pigs also have salt toxicity issues. Never feed your pig salted items such as potato chips or salted popcorn (air popped corn is fine as an occasional treat). Fruits should always be given in very limited moderation because of the natural sugars.  Pigs LOVE and LIVE to eat! DO NOT fall for the "I am starving" act because they will try ;) 

 

Bathing, Skin, Eyes & Ears Care

 

Skin: We all love having a clean pig but baths should be done on a very limited basis as it will take off the natural oil on their skin. Pigs have extremely sensitive skin, so it is vital that you use a very gentle shampoo. Do NOT use dog or cat shampoos. We use a baby shampoo or wash to bathe your pig. Invest in a good scrub brush to get all the dead skin off. You want a brush that is firm but you don't want it to be too harsh on your pig. Pigs typically do not care for baths but we have found that sprinkling Cheerios (original- yellow box) in the tub/bath area for them to eat while you bathe them keeps them busy and makes giving them a bath a little easier.

If your pig gets muddy, you can hose or brush them. Pigs do have naturally dry skin which should be treated from the inside out. We make coconut oil treats using organic cold pressed coconut oil and a little bit of peanut butter (see recipe in your piggy folder). If you choose to put a lotion or oil on your pig please do so sparingly as they can clog pores and make the skin greasy or worse. Light colored pigs can sunburn very easily. We recommend using a spray on baby sunblock to prevent them from getting sunburned. 

 

Hair: Pigs have hair and not fur. It is very tough and hard, but it is hair.
Your mini pig will most likely shed or "blow its coat" at least once a year. Some will do this twice a year. They may lose their hair all at once or in stages. The pig will look like a bald ol’ man during/after but once their hair starts to grow back they will look like themselves again. This usually happens sometime in the Spring when the weather starts turning warm. When your pig is loosing its hair it will itch terribly. You may notice him running around trying to itch on trees, walls, furniture, your leg, other pets, whatever is around!! Also, good scratching and/or brushing a few times a day will be appreciated.

Ears & Eyes: Mini pigs have very poor eyesight. In fact, many new pig parents believe something is wrong because they do not seem to be able to see very well. Well, this is true. Most pigs will have runny eyes that produce sticky, brownish tears. A little of this is normal. You can wipe away the goo with a warm damp cloth.

Pigs ears sometimes will get a little wax build-up. This is normal! DO NOT try to clean deep inside your pig's ear. When the build-up gets bad on our pigs' ears we just use a finger under a baby wipe to scrape it out, being careful not to let any of the gunk fall back into the ear. We do not use any type of foreign object or ear cleaner. It is not necessary. That 'stuff' that builds up is their natural defense against dust, particles and tiny insects getting too far into their ears.

DO NOT put any liquids in your pig's ear EVER! This can get in their inner ear and cause them to have a head tilt, putting them off balance. If liquid gets into your pig's ears, it can cause serious problems.
NOTE: If you are going to hose your pig down to cool them off during hot days, make sure you do not allow the stream of water near their ears or face.

 

Harness Training

 

Before diving into this task remember all piglets learn differently and at a different pace.  Some piglets may take to the harness easily and be ready from day one, some may take weeks just to adjust to wearing a harness. 

1. The sooner you start the better!  Having a harness ready when your piglet comes home or within the first few days is going to make your task much simpler.

2. The first time to put the harness on your piglet, expect some hesitation. This is fine, but its important you stay with your piglet and watch and have  treats on stand by.  The second your piglet calms down (if lucky your piglet will remain calm the whole time) treat your piglet and take the harness off. This is your only job for day 1!  You have told your piglet that not having a fit while wearing a harness is good!  You have rewarded the good behavior with a treat and the lesson is over, leaving on a good note.

3. On the second day, we will put the harness on, as soon as the tantrum stops we will treat the piglet with lots of yummy treats and affection but we will not take the harness off. After about 20 minutes, remove the harness (if your piglet is being good) and treat them.

4.Step 3 will take place several days if needed, we want to get our piglet confident in wearing a harness.

5. Once your piglet is ok with the harness we will attach our lead.  Treat your piglet with the lead on, and let your piglet feel the weight of the lead, treat your piglet and let your piglet drag it for 5 minutes or so. Assuming  your piglet is calm, treat your piglet and remove the harness and lead.

6. Once  your piglet has decided its ok to have a lead attached its time to start adding slight pressure, once your piglet submits to this pressure (submit means to not resist for the sake of this tutorial) then treat your piglet and remove. 

7.  You will then add length to your training session with the lead on, work up to 15-20 minutes.  Treat your piglet, lots of praise.

8.  Your next step is to take your piglet on a short walk in your yard, without distractions, such as dogs and other pigs.  Treats, praises and lots of love. After 20 minutes your session is complete and now you can start to add time to your outings. it, and what got them to where they are.

 

We use & recommend this mini pig harness, as it is adjustable as the pig grows.

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/612964500/mini-pig-harness-leash-adjustable-12-in?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=mini+pig+harness&ref=sr_gallery-1-3&frs=1&organic_search_click=1

 

Socializing

 

Pigs are prey animals. They aren't born and immediately trust you like a puppy or a kitten. It will take time for your pig to grow a bond with you and trust you fully. Since they have the flight response they will be scared when there are quick movements, loud sounds, or hands reaching out to them. Your piglet shouldn't have free range of the house until this trust is given. Start in a small area like a puppy play pen or a bathroom and sit on the floor with your piglet. Just sit and let them come to you and explore you. You can try to encourage them over to you by offering them treats. Go slow and offer a lot of rewards for when your piglet does something you approve of.

 

Most piglets don't like to be held. They have to get comfortable with it and trust that you aren't going to hurt them. You need to cradle them close to your body like a baby. Don't hold them out and away from you. If your piglet screams, which is normal, let them scream it out. If you put them down you are just reinforcing bad behavior.

 

Most importantly, spend a lot of time with your pig! If you are very busy or work a demanding job and live alone, then a pig might not be the best pet for you. A lonely pig can get depressed or find themselves entertaining themselves by getting into mischief. It is always good to make sure that the pig doesn't spend long periods of them by themselves and if they must, it might be a good idea to get them a playmate.

 

Spaying/Neutering

 

Females: When females are not spayed they can become sexually frustrated and aggressive due to heat cycles every 21 days. While in heat, they may mark their territory by urinating wherever they stand and anywhere in the house. They may generally be in a foul mood or be destructive in the house.

 

Males: They will hump, ejaculate (on you, furniture, clothing, carpet, other pets, guests, toys, stuffed animals), they become aggressive and are more prone to escaping or roaming as their hormones drive them to find a mate and reproduce. They can emit a horrendous odor if they are scared or excited, or just because. Their urine will also stink very strongly because of the prepuce gland. They most likely will not potty train because they want to leave their mark or scent, just in case a female passes by. 

 

Spaying/Neutering mini pigs is done when the pig is between 10-30 lbs. Please consult with your vet a.s.a.p. to determine when you should have your pig spayed/neutered. An average spay/neuter can cost around $200-$400 (prices vary depending on your vet and any additional charges).

 

Rooting

Rooting is a natural and common behavior in mini pigs. When a piglet is born they immediately find their way to their mom’s teat and begin to root on her belly to get milk to drop and release. Many times it can be a sign of affection as piglets. Most can get really addicted to rooting on your limbs, blankets, floors, etc. Other times pigs will root to get what they want like food. You do not want to stop pigs rooting, but you do not not them growing up rooting on you. Instead give them a stuffed animal/ blanket. When they root that stuffed animal/blanket praise them by saying “good root”. Rooting blankets/boxes are a great for them as well. Pigs can also be known to root in your yard/garden (turning up dirt). It is best to have an area of your yard that the pig can do this in. Pigs can also root out of boredom.

 

 

 

Litter Training/Potty Training

 

Potty training is one of the first things a pig parent will work on with their piglet. This will be a lot easier if you set them up for success from the beginning!  First, decide if you want to train your baby to use a litter box or go outside or a combination. Potty training during winter in cold climates limits outside potty training until Spring. Consistency in training is essential for success.

Young piglets do not have full bladder control, so many parents choose to start with a litter box until they are old enough to consistently make it outside for potty breaks. Start out with a small area. A puppy pen, a bathroom, a small gated off room, or a baby playpen. Remember, babies need to use the potty often throughout the day. Immediately after waking, after eating, after drinking, after playing and anytime in bet. 

 

Training Your Piglet To Potty Outside

 

  • Keep them confined to a small, safe area until they get used to the family and environment. Give them a comfortable area to nap with a pet bed or blanket. Take them to the designated outdoor potty area. This area must be safe and secure for your piglet. Never take a piglet out without a harness and leash unless you have a small fenced area or outdoor playpen. Every time they eat, drink, wake from a nap, or has playtime, take them out too potty.

  • In the beginning you will want to take them to potty many times in a day. If you want your piglet to learn to potty on command, you need to choose command words and use those when you take him/her outside, for example, “go potty” or “go poop,” etc.  When they do go potty outside tell them “good boy/girl, good potty!!” (in a happy voice). You can even reward them with a treat when they are successful, and they will soon catch on that they have done the right thing. You can either install a doggy door for them to use, or attach a bell to the backdoor and train them to ring it when they need to go out. Remember, accidents are accidents and they are babies.

  • There is no need to punish; as in dogs, rubbing their nose in their mistake, physical punishment and/or yelling (after the fact) will not help your piglet learn house training skills.  If you catch them in the act, you can verbally tell them “no” sternly and quickly show them where they should go.

 

 

Training Your Piglet To Potty Inside

 

  • It is helpful to ask your breeder what they have been using for litter box training and get the same pellet for familiarity for an easier smooth transition. Breeders most often use horse bedding pellet or pine pellet. Cat litter cannot be used as pigs will eat the kitty litter and it is not good for them.

  • Keep your piglet confined to a small area when not being held or attended to and keep the litter box in this area. Piglets cannot hold their bladders very long and often do not have time to get to their litter box without an accident.

  • Do not let your piglet roam the house freely without being attended to, as they will become overwhelmed and forget where the potty box is, be too afraid to go find it, or get distracted. Pigs are clean animals and do not want to soil where they sleep or eat, so keep the litter box in a different corner of their area, away from the bed and food.

  • Put them in their potty box often and say “go potty”. You will want to place your piglet in their litter box every time they eat, drink, and often throughout the day. When your piglet does potty in the appropriate place tell them “good boy/girl!!” in an excited praising voice. You can reward your piglet with a treat in the beginning stages as well. They will soon understand they have done the right thing.

  • Make sure the sides of your litter box are very low for piglet to enter. If your piglet slips in the litter box or hesitates to enter, cut an entry low enough and line the bottom with paper towels for added traction.

  • Once they are consistently using the litter box in their small area, increase the amount of space your pig can roam SLOWLY! If they start having accidents, then limit the space again until they are consistently using the box. You may need more then one litter box in the house to accommodate your piglet, especially if you have a larger home or a two story home.

  • Once you put a litter box down it is best to keep it in the same spot permanently. Once they deem a spot as a potty spot, they will continue to use it as a toilet even if you take away or move the potty box! BEWARE of accidents on carpet.

  • Once a pig goes to the bathroom on the carpet, it can be extremely difficult ever removing the urine smell, especially if it soaks into the padding. They have an incredible sense of smell and therefore will be called back to that area after many efforts of removing the smell. Making sure your pig has mastered potty training before they freely roam the home is an essential part of potty training successfully.

 

Potty Troubleshooting

 

 Even the most successfully potty trained pig can have set backs or revert to poor potty behavior. Lapses in potty training may be symptomatic of something else.

Pottying right outside the box:

  • Put towels or puppy pads around the perimeter of the potty box until they get better control. Place them in the potty box often.

Spraying urine over the side of box:

  • Get a box with taller sides and cut a walk in entrance for them.

Pottying in inappropriate places:

  • If they are going under a bed or under a desk, they’re telling you they want privacy. Try a covered litterbox or a plastic tub with a lid with an entry way cut in.

If your piglet is picking spots around the house to potty:

  • clean the area thoroughly.  Their sense of smell is incredible. Just because we can’t smell it, doesn’t mean it is gone. Once the odor has been eliminated (tips below) use those spots as “feeding stations.” Pigs don’t like to potty where they eat. If you sprinkle their pellets and treats over those spots, several times a day, they will view that spot as a place to eat, therefore they’ll hesitate to soil the area. If the pig potties where they shouldn’t, put a piece of stool or a urine soaked paper towel into the litter box, put pig into the box and tell them “go potty” as they sniff the paper towel.

Hormones:

  • Intact pigs are incredibly difficult to potty train because their hormones will drive them to leave their scent to attract a mate. Spayed and neutered pigs are far easier to potty train.

Pig refuses box:

  • If your pig refuses to use the litter box, they might not feel comfortable entering. Make sure there is a short entrance for them. Make sure they feel secure standing in it as pigs do not like slippery surfaces. Experiment with different litter choices. Some pigs have litter preferences and refuse to use litters they don’t like.

Pig was potty trained and now won’t use the box.

  • A few reasons pigs may stop using their litter box after developing good habits are:  a urinary tract infection, soiled litter box not cleaned often enough, other pets (i.e. dogs) have access to the potty area and pig doesn’t feel comfortable with potty area/needs more privacy/security, pig has outgrown the litter box and needs a bigger accommodation or pig wants to potty outside, or their are soiled areas in the house that is disrupting their training.

  • Many pigs naturally prefer to potty outside especially as they mature and develop better control. If your pig does not have a UTI, has a clean box, has the litter they prefer, litter box is big enough and pig still isn’t consistently using the box, then try taking them outside to potty several times a day. They may be trying to tell you something…

Litter Choices

  • Newspaper pellets: These pellets can be found at pet stores in the cat litter section. They are made from compressed recycled paper. One popular brand is Yesterday’s News, although store brands are just as effective and lower cost. This litter can be found for ~$12 for 25 pounds.

PROS: The pellets have no odor. This is great for those that don’t like the smell of pine. The pellets are tidy. These pellets have excellent absorbing properties, keeping piggy’s feet dry. When they become wet, they stay in pellet form and darken, making it easy to scoop out the soiled areas. This litter can be composted and is good for the environment. Safe if ingested in small quantities.

CONS: This litter is more expensive than some other litter options. Some aren’t satisfied with the odor control since the pellets have no scent.

 

  • Pine pellets: These pellets can be found at pet stores or farm stores such as tractor supply. They will be far more expensive in pet stores, in the cat litter section. The name brand is Feline Pine. These pellets can be found far cheaper at Tractor Supply in the horse bedding section. One brand name is Equine Pine although other brands are widely available. These pellets are about $5-7 for 40 pounds.

PROS: This litter is very cost effective. The pine scent has a pleasant smell for some and covers the urine odor. These pellets have excellent absorbing properties keeping piggy’s feet dry. This litter can be composted and is good for the environment. Safe if ingested in small quantities.

CONS: When wet the pellets turn to a sawdust like powder. This powder is more difficult to scoop thanwhole pellets and is often tracked out of the litter box. Some find the pine and urine odor to smell reminiscent of a barn. It comes in a big heavy bag.

 

  • Wood pellets: Pellets sold for wood burning stoves are also used in litter boxes.

  • Pine shavings: Pine shavings can be found in any pet store, feed store, tractor supply, or Walmart in the small animal section. The prices will vary by location, feed stores are usually the cheapest place to buy, around~$6 for a large bag.

PROS: This litter is cost effective and easy to find. Light weight for hauling around. Safe if ingested in small quantities. This litter can be composted.

CONS: Messy! The lightweight shavings tend to scatter out of the litter box very easily. This is also a tempting material for piglets to root around. They aren’t very absorbent, urine can run to the bottom of the litter box and pool up around their hooves causing them to seek an alternative potty spot. Some find the pine and urine odor to smell reminiscent of a barn. The bag is large and bulky for storing.

 

  • Puppy pee pads: Puppy Pee Pads can be found at any pet store, Walmart or farm store in the dog section. Prices vary by size and location. They can be found at Amazon.com or eBay.com in large quantities for a better value.

PROS: Lightweight and compact, exceptional for traveling. No messy litter scooping or tracking out of the box.  Urine color is obvious and medical concerns can be addressed immediately.

CONS: These pads cannot be composted and are terrible for the environment sitting in landfills. They areone of the more expensive options for a litter box. Some pigs will shred & destroy them. This causes a mess in the house and also ingestion danger. Odor control is minimal. Pads need to be changed after each use.Pads may not contain the amount of urine a pig can hold.

 

  • Newspapers: Newspapers can be used but may not be successful. Since the absorbing properties are minimal urine may pool around the pig’s feet. This is uncomfortable for pigs and they make seek an alternative potty spot.

PROS: Newspapers are cost effective if you have access to unwanted newspapers. They can be composted and good for the environment.

CONS: Newspapers are not very absorbent. There is no odor control.

 

  • Litter-free potty systems: There are several litter free potty systems on the market. These are marketed for dogs and come in various sizes. Some will have fake grass at the top or a plastic grate. You can also create your own with wire grate and pvc pipe.

PROS: Save money in the long run on litter costs. Save the environment- no trees were harmed and landfills won’t be used unnecessarily. No messy litter to get tracked in the house or to dispose of. Never run out of litter.

CONS: No odor control. Pan needs to be large enough to contain pig pee flood. Carrying the pan of urine to the toilet for dumping daily can be a balancing act with messy consequences. Brands are:

http://www.porchpotty.com/

https://www.pottypatch.com/

http://www.ebay.com/itm/221556476348

https://www.wizdog.com/

 

Do Not Use

-Clay cat litter. Clay cat litter is dangerous for pigs. They tend to root around in material and will inhale dust and/or get litter stuck on their snout. Ingestion of this litter can be life threatening through intestinal blockage.

-Corn cob litter: Corn cob litter is an impaction/obstruction hazard for pigs. They may try to eat it even though it is indigestible. If this litter gets stuck in their digestive tract they will need lifesaving surgery.

-Walnut litter: Walnut litter is an impaction/obstruction hazard for pigs. They may try to eat it even though it is indigestible. If this litter gets stuck in their digestive tract they will need lifesaving surgery.

-Cedar shavings or pellets: Cedar does not make a good litter choice because of the toxic aromatic oils. Cedar is toxic causing a variety of health problems in humans and animals that are exposed to it for long periods of time. To use cedar in a litter box puts the cedar right at nose level where the pig must enter and breath multiple times a day.

 

Litter Pan Ideas

  • Rubbermaid tub appropriately sized for your pig (the bigger the better!)

  • Under the bed sweater plastic container

  • Livestock water tub from farm store, 40 gallon or sized appropriately

  • Dog crate tray

  • Rabbit droppings pan

  • Shallow cat litter box

  • Covered cat litter box with entrance hole cut

  • Plastic tote with entrance hole cut (lid on top for privacy)

  • Kiddy pool

  • Under washing machine pan

  • Water heater drip pan

  • Cement mixing tub or multipurpose tub from Lowes or Home Depot

 

Urine Clean Up

  • An enzyme cleaner such as Nature’s Miracle will break down the organic compounds of the urine or feces to eliminate the odor rather than mask it as some cleaners will do. These can be found in the potty training section of any pet store, or in the pet section of Walmart.

  • Vinegar and water is also a good cleanser for urine.

  • On carpet, spray carpet cleaner over area a little wider than soiled spot.  Let soak in for a minute or so.  Then sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over whole wet area.  Let sit over night.  The next day the baking soda will have soaked up urine and cleaner.  Vacuum up.

  • Odormute, it’s a powder that you mix with water.

 

Health Care

 

Deworming

 

Your mini pig should be dewormed on a regular schedule for internal and external parasites. These parasites are common in the pigs environment, especially those that root and graze or spend time outdoors. They can contract parasites from soil, grazing, other pets, other pigs, eating bugs (including earthworms or mealworms), contact with hay, even if pig parents have horses or work in a barn they can bring parasites to their indoor pigs. Most of these parasites will show no symptoms until after they have taken a toll on your pig's health. Deworming is simple & can be done at home without a vet visit. 

 

We use 2 different dewormers because they each cover different parasites. Ivermectin (brand name Ivomec or Noromectin) treats mites, lice, mange, and a variety of internal parasites. Fenbendazole (brand name Safeguard) treats tapeworms, whipworms and ascarids. When purchasing these items you will want to purchase the following: Ivermectin 1% Injection for Cattle & Swine and Safeguard for goats 10% suspension. Remember to purchase syringes & needles as you will need them to get the medication out of the bottles and make sure a correct dose is given. Do not use a pour on or paste!  

 

You can find these deworming medications at your local feed store,Tractor Supply Co. or online through Valley Vet Supply, Jeffers, Etc. Both dewormers can be given orally and it is best mixed into food as they are bitter tasting. You can mix the medications into a spoonful of canned pumpkin, yogurt, apple sauce or peanut butter. The Ivermectin can even be injected into a strawberry, a couple grapes or another kind of their favorite treat. 

 

Ivermectin Dosing: Mix 0.2cc or ml per 10 pounds of body weight with food. You will need 2 doses, 14 days apart. Then follow a regular schedule of every 6 months (can be on a 4 month schedule if needed).

 

Fenbendazole(Safeguard): Mix 0.1cc or ml per 10 pounds of body weight with food. This dose should be given once a day for 3 days in a row. If worms are suspected, repeat the 3 day dosing 2 weeks after the first dosing. Then follow a regular schedule of 6 months (can be on a 4 month schedule if needed).

 

We give our piglets the first dose of Ivermectin at 6 weeks old and follow with the second dose at 8 weeks old along with a 3 day dose of SafeGuard. Then we follow a 6 month schedule.

 

Common Parasites

 

Ticks & Fleas: While fleas are not common on adult healthy pigs because the skin is too tough to bite through, they can infest young piglets and hitch a ride if other pets in the environment have fleas. Advantix, Advantage and Frontline (labeled for dogs) are safe for pigs if you follow the weight dosing. 

 

Mites: Are tiny microscopic external parasites that live on pig’s skin. They are also referred to as scabies or scarcoptic mange and is a very common parasite. The first symptom is excessive scratching or rubbing against objects. The common signs are ear shaking and severe rubbing of the skin against the sides of the pen. Approximately 3-8 weeks after initial infection the skin becomes sensitized to the mite protein and a severe allergy may develop with very tiny red pimples covering the whole of the skin. These cause intense irritation and rubbing to the point where bleeding may occur. Head shaking is a common symptom and hairs are often rubbed away leaving bare patches. The incubation period to the appearance of clinical signs is approximately three weeks although it may be several months before signs are noticed. The life cycle takes 14-15 days from adult to adult to complete. The mite spreads directly from pig to pig, either by close skin contact or contact with recently contaminated surfaces. If pigs are housed in groups there is increased opportunity for spread. The mite dies out quickly away from the pig, under most farm conditions, in less than five days. These mites can be spread to other pets and family members, but cannot survive or reproduce away from their pig host. Treatment is with ivermectin given orally with food. All medications are ineffective against the eggs hence the need to treat twice, 10-14 days apart.

 

Vaccines

 

We do have our mini pigs vaccinated using Farrowsure Gold or Farrowsure Gold B. Mini pigs have a very good immune system but we always recommend vaccinating them just to be on the safe side. Because you never know what another animal could bring around or what your mini pig could pick up out in public. Make sure your vet knows how to dose a mini pig!

 

Farrowsure Gold or Farrowsure Gold B- given @ 8 weeks old then follow a once a year schedule.

 

*Some veterinarians do recommend Rabies vaccines to protect your pet pig in case she/he bites a person. If your pig is not vaccinated for Rabies they can legally take her/him & euthanize her/him to test her brain for Rabies. This can be prevented with a rabies vaccine! Pigs CAN contract rabies although it isn't likely. There is no approved rabies vaccine specifically for pigs, but they can still have the vaccine for legal protection or requirements.

 

 

Hoof Trimming

Hoof trimming is an important part of maintaining a healthy, happy pig. It is important to desensitize your piglets by handling and filing their hooves often when they are young. This makes the hoof trimming a much easier task as your pig grows.

If you are not able to manage your pig for hoof trimming we recommend that your vet or experienced farrier take care of this for your pig’s health and well-being.

 

Tusk Trimming

Females AND males do get tusks. Neutered and spayed pigs do get tusks. However, tusk growth is fueled by testosterone. Therefore an intact boar is going to have the FASTEST tusk growth, a neutered male and intact sow will be slower growth, and a spayed female will have the slowest tusk growth.The frequency will depend on your individual pig, the rate your pig grows his tusks, and the risk to others. Some people never trim tusks. They prefer to leave the tusks natural. Families with other pets or small children may find tusks to present a danger, either by an aggressive act from the pig or by simply running too close to someone or rubbing against their leg– serious bodily damage can occur from these sharp teeth. Most people start trimming their pig’s tusks between 1.5 and 3 years of age. Most male pigs do not start to grow tusks until about 18 months or later. Some have yearly tusk trims, others follow their own schedule on an as needed basis. Some tusks can grow at a bad angle until they actually pierce the cheek of the pig. In this case, tusk trimming is not optional and must be maintained for the health and welfare of the pig. We DO NOT recommend tusk removal as a pig’s tusks are rooted into the jawbone requiring surgery.  There is a risk of breaking the jawbone, infection, and therefore is not a healthy or safe option. Even if the jaw bone is not broken during tusk removal surgery the bone may be weaker for the life of the pig causing future breaks and infection risks more likely.

Constipation

Signs of constipation in the pig:  humped up back, straining to defecate with no or little production, little hard fecal balls that are individual, groaning or moaning while trying to defecate.

If your pig is younger than 3 months old and seems constipated, see your vet.

Things you can do at home 

  • Increase water consumption to help bowel move and to make moister stool.

  • Mix ¼ apple, prune or cranberry juice with ¾ water.

  • Offer Gatorade mixed ½ and ½ with water.

  • Mix water into any dry food.

  • Pumpkin – most people do not feed enough pumpkin to be effective.  For small pigs, feed ¼ can three times per day.  For larger pigs (bigger than 40 pounds), feed ½ can three times per day.  Feed pumpkin for a full 2 weeks after constipation resolves and gradually decrease the amount fed over 2 weeks until none is being fed.

  • Fiber laxatives (Metamucil) – 1 tablespoonful twice a day.  This can only be fed if the pigs are drinking plenty of water.  Do not just stop giving Metamucil – gradually decrease the amount in diet over 2weeks after constipation is resolved. 

  • Increase fiber containing fruits and berries– prunes, blueberries, raspberries.

  • Stool softeners – Colace or Docusate Stool Softener (DSS) – give 1 capsule with food twice a day.

  • Pediatric suppositories (available at pharmacy) 1 once a day, per rectum.

  • In minor cases of constipation, a warm bath will stimulate defecation.

 

If the pig does not defecate in 72 hours, see a vet.

Signs and Symptoms of UTI

A urinary tract infection may include some, all, or none of these symptoms. Different pigs with a UTI may show different symptoms or overlapping symptoms based on the severity of infection, their overall health, and their tolerance or irritation with the infection. Anytime a UTI is suspected please take a urine sample to the veterinarian’s office to be evaluated. This can be obtained from sticking a Tupperware, a pan, or a ladle in the stream while they urinate. If they potty outside it’s easiest to catch the urine if you have them on leash so you can be close by when they squat. Urinary tract infections can be brought on by a number of factors: hormonal changes (heat cycle), stress, other infections, strain on the body such as healing from surgery, bladder stones or kidney stones, and sometimes factors that we can’t see will play a role. Never assume your pig doesn’t have a UTI when something is “off”.

Watch for:

-Frequent urination

-Urinating on bedding or urinating while sleeping

-Urinating in several spots during the same potty break

-Straining to urinate

-Fever

-Change in water consumption

-Change in urination frequency, odor, and color

-Decreased appetite

-Lethargy

-Irritability

-In case a urinary tract infection is suspected, veterinary care is required. Take your pig to the vet or catch a urine sample and drop off at the vet’s office (store in refrigerator until sample can be taken to clinic; obtain one as fresh as possible). They can analyze the urine for abnormalities and infection. In case of infection, the veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics.

Dippity Pig Syndrome

Dipping Pig Syndrome is an acute, painful skin condition that occurs along the back in healthy young pigs. The cause of Dippity Pig Syndrome is unknown. There is some evidence, based on biopsy results, that it may involve a herpes virus (like shingles in the human being). There is evidence that it occurs in some family lines. 

Symptoms:

  • Occurs in young pigs – between 4 months and 4 years

  • Sudden, rapid onset

  • Screaming/squealing in pain

  • Dipping or temporary loss of use of hind legs – it usually does not affect front legs

  • Red, oozing sores on back – there are usually more than one, and they make stripes across the back rather than following the length of the back bone

  • Pigs will try to run or move away from the pain

  • Pigs will usually eat and drink

  • Pigs will usually have normal stool and urine

  • Pigs will usually have a normal body temperature

  • Usually lasts 2-4 days

  • Can reoccur in some pigs

  • Happens most often in small pet pigs, occasionally in show pigs, and has been reported a few times in farm pigs

  • Seems to be associated with a stressful situation

 

Treatment:

  • This condition will resolve after 2-4 days with no medical intervention

  • Reduce stress in the environment – keep the pig in a quite familiar environment with soft bedding, dim light, soft music and reduced noise.

  • Isolate the pig from people – the  pig can be in a lot pain. In some cases, even blowing on their backs will cause a collapse. They need to be left alone to rest.

  • Some veterinarians will use anti-inflammatory steroids to treat Dippity. NSAIDs have also been used. Since there is some evidence that a herpes virus may be involved, this treatment is somewhat controversial.

 

 

For pain:

  • Buffered aspirin, 5 mg per pound every 12 hours, with a meal. For no more than 3 days

OR

  • Tylenol, 5 mg per pound every 8 hours. (If you use infant’s Tylenol, 1 cc per 6 pounds). Always with food. For no more than 3 days

  • Tramadol or buprenex can be prescribed by your veterinarian for pain control.

 

To help the pig rest:

  • Benadryl (aka diphenhydramine) up to 1 mg per pound every 8 hours.

 

REASONS TO HAVE YOUR PIG SEEN BY A VETERINARIAN:

  • If you are worried about him/her

  • If the pig is not responding to treatment

  • If the condition continues for longer than 4 days

  • If both the back AND front legs are involved (probably not Dippity)

  • If your pig will not eat nor drink

  • If your pig continues to be in extreme pain

  • If your pig runs a fever (temperature greater than 103)

  • If your pig seems unresponsive

 

 

What to do in case of a fever

Fevers result when a pig has an infection (viral, bacterial), an inflammation (allergies, malignant hyperthermia), or an intoxication (ingestion of some toxins, bites from some snakes or bugs). Often, the fever has a purpose in the body – most bacteria or viruses can only live in a narrow temperature range, so the body, as a defense, raises the temperature to try to wipe out the invading infection.  So, fevers can be a good thing.

If your pig has a temperature above 104, it should be seen by your veterinarian right away.

If your pig has a temperature of 103-104 for more than 72 hours, it should be seen by your veterinarian.

Until You Can Get To Your Vet

  • Increase fluid intake – mix ¼ prune, apple, or cranberry juice with ¾ water.

  • Offer Gatorade, mixed ½ Gatorade with ½ water.   Offer ice cubes or popsicles.

  • Environmental cooling – have icepacks wrapped in small towels in bed for the pig to lay on if it wants to.  Put rubbing alcohol on its feet for evaporative cooling.  Use cool, but not cold cloths on head, neck and abdomen. Avoid bathing your pig at this time.

 

Medications

  • NO ASPIRIN– some conditions that cause fever, such as erysipelas, cause a disruption in blood clotting in the body. Aspirin makes this worse.

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) 5 mg per pound of body weight every 8 hours for no more than 3 days.  If fever persists past 3 days, see veterinarian.  Always give with a small meal/food.

FEVER IN VERY YOUNG PIGS CAN BE VERY SERIOUS – IT CAN INDICATE PNEUMONIA, WHICH CAN BE FATAL IN A VERY SHORT TIME.  YOUNG PIGS (UNDER 5 MONTHS) WITH FEVER SHOULD SEE A VETERINARIAN RIGHT AWAY.

 

For a pig who gorged on food/ate something it shouldn’t have

REMEMBER: PIGS WILL EAT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING.  In extreme cases, they will eat things that cannot pass out of their stomach and that will cause “pig bloat.”  Under these circumstances, only surgical removal of the objects will help.  So, IF YOU ARE CONCERNED OR IF YOU THINK YOUR PIG ATE SOMETHING IT CANNOT DIGEST OR PASS, PLEASE SEE YOUR VETERINARIAN RIGHT AWAY. IF YOUR PIG IS STAGGERING, FALLING OVER, OR ACTING DRUNK IN ANY WAY, IT IS AN EMERGENCY AND IT SHOULD BE SEEN BY YOUR VETERINARIAN RIGHT AWAY. 

 

If your pig gorges on pig pellets, dog food, cat food, bread, cereal, corn chips, that sort of thing: there are a few concerns listed below. If your pig gorged while grazing you can follow the first 3 steps below. If your pig possible gorged on a toxic plant/weed/flower, a trip to the vet is probably needed.

 

  • The stomach is too full – These pigs will have a bloated looking abdomen, they will drool, they may vomit, and they will be painful and restless.  It will be hard for them to lay down.   These pigs may vomit food for up to 12 hours after gorging. Pigs vomit fairly easily, so do not be alarmed if they vomit and empty the stomach.  All this food has to go somewhere.

 

  • Do not feed them for 12 – 24 hours – so that their stomach will empty.  And yes, some of them will continue to eat (because they are pigs).

 

  • Small frequent amounts of water for the first 6 hours.  (1/4 cup every 15 minutes).  If you allow them to tank upon all the water they can drink, the water can cause the food-stuffs in their stomachs to swell.  If they cannot vomit up the swelling food, the stomach can rupture. Small and frequent is the way to go!

 

  • After 6 hours, free choice water.

 

  • Salt poisoning – if your pig ate a lot of a high salt food, such as pretzels, corn chips, margarita salt (yes they will eat this), road salt, and such, you can try to induce vomiting to get the food up.  Syrup of ipecac L I tablespoonful may induce vomiting.  Hydrogen peroxide (3% — for wounds, not the 20+% for bleaching hair) – 2 tablespoonful’s orally may induce vomiting.  If you do not get vomiting after 30 minutes – go to your veterinarian. This is an emergency

 

  • Alcohol poisoning – breads ferment in the stomach to produce gas (be prepared for burping and lots of intestinal gas (dare I say farting?) and alcohol.  This alcohol can cause drunkenness (which is hard to distinguish from salt poisoning) and liver failure.

If your pig is acting drunk, see your veterinarian right away. This is an emergency. 

WHEN IN DOUBT SEE YOUR VETERINARIAN.

 

What to do for a vomiting pig

Pigs Will Vomit For A Number Of Reasons

  •  They eat things that upset their stomachs.

  •  Constipation.

  •  They gorge on things they should not eat.

  •  Some infections cause vomiting.

  •  Internal parasites.

  •  Intestinal obstruction.

  •  Some toxins cause vomiting.

  •  Organ based disease such as liver or kidney disease.

  •  Pain is a big cause of vomiting in the post-operative pig.

 

Some causes of vomiting are very serious, some are not.

If your pig is vomiting, and you do not know the reason, SEE YOUR VETERINARIAN. If there is an underlying cause, such as liver disease or pain, the vomiting will continue until the underlying cause is taken care of.

First aid for the vomiting pig UNTIL YOU CAN GET TO YOUR VET

  • Withhold food and water for 6 hours to let the stomach rest.  Giving food or water right after vomiting will cause more vomiting. In pigs under 10 pounds, rub some Karo syrup or sugar water (1 tsp sugar in 1 cup warm water) on their gums every hour or so to prevent dips in blood sugar.

  • After 6 hours, offer a small amount of water – no more than ¼ cup.  If the pig refuses to drink, it is still nauseated, so don’t force it.  See your veterinarian.  If it drinks, wait an hour to make sure it keeps it down, then offer ½ cup every hour for 6 hours.  If no vomiting, return to free choice water.

  • If there is no vomiting 1 hour after the pig drinks water, offer a small meal of soft food (soaked pellets, rice cereal made with water not milk, applesauce, mashed potatoes, that sort of thing). Wait 1 hour to see if vomiting occurs. If vomiting starts again, with hold food and water  and see veterinarian.  If no vomiting, offer small soft meals hourly.

  • Over a few days, increase the size of the meal but decrease the frequency, until you are on a normal schedule. Feed soft food for about a week and then return to normal diet, schedule and amounts

 

For pigs that ingested poison

1) Call poison control (ASPCA NATIONAL ANIMAL POISON CONTROL (available 24 hours a day. There is a fee, so have credit card ready) 1-800-548-2423)

2) Hydrogen Peroxide 3% (in the brown bottle, for wounds – not the full strength stuff used to bleach hair) can be given orally (by syringe) to induce vomiting (dose: approximately 5cc per 10 pounds of bodyweight)

3) Syrup of ipecac – 1 tablespoonful per pig, orally to induce vomiting
++++warning – vomiting is not always good after a pig ingests a poison. Call poison control or your ER first+++++

4) Activated charcoal – adheres to any toxin left in the digestive tract and prevents pig from absorbing it – get the liquid or powdered form, the tablets/granules are not nearly as effective. Watch out – this stuff is messy and will stain anything cloth forever. Comes out in the stool and the stool will also stain everything. Dose: adult pigs (over 30 pounds – 0.5 ml per pound of body weight) young pigs (less than 30 pounds – 0.1 ml per pound of body weight. Can be repeated in 8 hours.

WHEN TO CALL A VETERINARIAN

  • Persistent vomiting for more than 24 hours (especially if yellow)

  • Not eating (no interest in feed)

  • Having trouble breathing

  • Off feed for more than 24 hours

  • Shaking violently - is stiff, or is moving in circles

  • A temperature of more than 103 degrees, or less than 99

  • Diarrhea for more than 24 hours

  • Constipation for more than 48 hours

  • Lying down for more than 8 hours

  • Unwillingness to rise

  • Painful abdomen

  • Persistent bleeding

  • Blood in stool

  • Seen eating something potentially poisonous or obstructive

  • Sudden behavioral changes

  • Rapid breathing

  • Persistent lameness

 

Pet mini pig emergency supply list: Its a good idea to have a small box full of things you may need for your mini pig. Needles, syringes, Kids Benadryl, Kids Asprin, ect… it would be good to have something like this on hand in case of an emergency. Please refer to the list below for some ideas. Please note we are not vets but have found all medications & doses listed below/in our care guide recommended from American Mini Pig Association website.

Pain and Fever

Children’s Tylenol liquid: 1ml per 6 pounds of body weight (with food) every 8 hours for 3 days max.

Buffered aspirin:  5 mg per pound of body weight twice a day. Must be buffered and given with food. Do not give if your pig is not eating and do not give for more than 3 days without seeing your vet.

Sedating/ Allergies/ Motion Sickness 

Children's Benadryl: 1 mg per lb body weight (every 6-8 hours).

Dramamine 4 mg per lb (every 8 hours).

Upset Stomach (vomiting, not eating, diarrhea)

Omprazole / Prilosec – 5-10 mg once a day

Famotidine / Pepcid – 0.25-0.5 mg per pound of bodyweight

Ranitidine / Zantac  – 150 mg twice a day

Pepto bismol – 1 cc per pound of body weight – may make the stool black

Kaopectate – 1 cc per pound of body weight – may make the stool black

Maalox liquid (for stomach gas) – 2 cc per 5 pounds of body weight

For Coughing Pigs

Children’s cough syrup – (dextromethorphan 15 mg per 10 ml) – 10 ml  per pig twice a day.

For Pigs that have Ingested Poison

Call poison control 800-548-2423 (ASPCA NATIONAL ANIMAL POISON CONTROL – available 24 hours a day)  There is a fee, so have credit card ready

Hydrogen Peroxide 3% (in the brown bottle, for wounds) – can be given orally (by syringe) to induce vomiting

Dose:  approximately 5cc per 10 pounds of body weight

Activated charcoal – adheres to any toxin left in the digestive tract and prevents pig from absorbing it – get the liquid or powdered form (the tablets/granules are not nearly as effective). Watch out – this stuff is messy and will stain anything.  Comes out in the stool and the stool will also stain everything.    Dose:  adult pigs (over 30 pounds  – 0.5 ml per pound of body weight)   young pigs (less than 30 pounds – 0.1 ml per pound of body weight.  Can be repeated in 8 hours.

***Warning – vomiting is not always good after a pig ingests a poison.  Call poison control or your ER first***

Other supplies To Have On Hand

* Activated charcoal -to use after ingestion of toxic foods ONLY under advice of veterinarian

  • Hydrogen peroxide 3% - to induce vomiting ONLY under advice of veterinarian

  • Triple antibiotic ointment

  • Vaseline - to lube thermometer

  • Thermometer (for rectal use) Rubbing alcohol - to swab before injections

  • Syringes of different sizes, needle and oral - to administer vaccines, antibiotics, dewormers

  • Styptic powder - for hoof bleeding during trim

  • Superglue - for hoof bleeding during trim

  • Cotton balls - for hoof bleeding during trim

  • Ice packs or frozen veggies like peas

  • Fan - to cool an overheated pig

  • Heating pad, microwavable rice sock, or water bottle with warm water

  • First aid wrap(self adhering sports wrap)

  • Crate, ramp, sling, anything you need to move a sick or immobile pig PLAN AHEAD!

 

Foods To Have On Hand

  • Canned pumpkin - tummy upset, treats diarrhea or constipation

  • Coconut water - encourages hydration during times of stress or illness

  • Gatorade - encourages hydration during times of stress or illness 

  • Fruit juice 100%, no sugar added - encourages hydration during times of stress or illness

  • Low sodium chicken broth - encourages hydration during times of stress or illness

  • Karo Syrup or honey - to increase blood sugar levels quickly and encourage eating

 

NEVER allow your vet to use Ketamine (not alone at least) or Halothane to sedate your pig. The only safe anesthesia to use on a mini pig is ISO (Isoflourine Gas). Remember this if your mini pig ever needs surgery for any reason!

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