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What To Know Before Adopting a Teacup Pig
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What To Know Before Adopting a Teacup Pig

Charlie, Critter Culture Staff
Updated Sep 10, 2020

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The teacup pig is a popular pet, loved for its cute antics and friendly nature. Don't be fooled by the teacup pig's name, though: Small is relative in the world of pigs and, because pigs can weigh over seven hundred pounds, "teacup" describes any breed under 350 pounds. Sometimes called "miniature," "micro," or "mini pigs," these species include the potbellied pig, Juliana, and Kunekune. Fully matured, they average between 50 to 150 pounds, approximately the same size as a big dog. While these adorable animals are an excellent fit for some people, they're not suited to everyone.

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1

Bylaws around pet pigs

Pet pig walking on a leash patrickheagney / Getty Images

No matter how sweet a teacup pig is, they're still considered livestock by most municipalities. Before deciding to get a pig, check city bylaws around keeping them as pets. Owners often overlook these laws and end up having to relocate themselves or their pets. Re-homing a pig can be challenging for you and stressful for the animal.

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2

Can you keep a teacup pig in an apartment?

teacup pig sitting on a grey couch HadelProductions / Getty Images

Even though pigs are super intelligent and easy to litter train, you don't want to share an apartment with one. They get restless and messy in small spaces, rooting and scraping on the floors. Plus, when startled, your piglet will get pretty noisy, too. Ideally, you should have a yard with a fenced area for your pet to play. Pigs love to nose around the soil and need to spend lots of time outside. Most landlords won't want you owning a pet pig either, and you won't be able to keep a pig hidden from your neighbors.

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3

Personality and friendliness

teacup pig in owners hands mari_art / Getty Images

Teacup pigs are smart and loving animals that make loyal pets. They enjoy having their tummies rubbed and will readily cuddle with their pet parent. A teacup pig is naturally curious, and it can be tricky to keep one entertained. Make sure to provide lots of toys, especially things that challenge and reward your pet while it plays. Because they're so smart, pigs are sensitive to emotions and need positive reinforcement like treats to trust their owners. Micro pigs do well with children and other animals when you socialize them young.

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4

Can you train a teacup pig?

portrait of a young domestic pig DEBOVE SOPHIE / Getty Images

Mini pigs are incredibly smart animals, so training takes patience and dedication. A teacup pig can make a well-mannered pet. Pigs quickly learn command words like wait, stay, sit, and no. But, they also grasp more entertaining tricks like spinning and dancing. You should start training your pig right away because piglets are eager to learn, and proper training will help your pet stay safe and happy. Using treats as a reward will serve to motivate your little pig and make it easier to train.

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5

Caring for your mini pig

 piglet wrapped in a white blanket Kseniia Derzhavina / Getty Images

Teacup pigs require special care to thrive. They need plenty of time outside to keep them physically healthy and mentally stimulated. These companion animals love a safe place to curl up and need a sheltered bed with plenty of blankets. Similar to a child, pigs often carry their bed covers everywhere, like a security blanket. If your pig stays inside at night, set up a fenced enclosure or puppy pen to keep it safe. A fenced pen also stops your pet from rummaging around unsupervised.

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6

Grooming and hygiene

teacup pig in the bathtub Kseniia Derzhavina / Getty Images

Teacup pigs might enjoy rolling in the mud, but they're not dirty animals. While piglets can get fleas, adults can't. However, they can get ticks. Pigs don't have oil glands in their skin and cannot sweat; this makes them prone to dry skin. Adding oils to their diets, such as coconut or olive oil, may help. Because of their dry skin, bathing should be infrequent, but you should gently brush off any dirt or mud. If you need to hose off your pig, make sure the water is warm and dry them thoroughly. Take care to keep your piglet warm and wrap it in a blanket afterward to keep it from catching a chill.

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7

Health and lifespan

micro pig looking over green fence

Pigs come in many sizes, with teacup potbellies ranging anywhere from 35 to 45 pounds, growing to approximately 16 inches tall — smaller breeds like the Juliana weigh 20 to 40 pounds. Watch out for less than honest breeders who try to pass off larger species as miniature. Obesity is a common problem with pigs because they tend to overeat, and their owners mistakenly think a pig is meant to be more plump. Pigs need regular exercise to control their weight. Annual wellness checks are essential, so you should find an experienced veterinarian in your area. With a nutritious diet and active lifestyle, a teacup pig can live between 15 to 21 years.

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8

Nutrition and feeding

teacup pig eating strawberry

Cat and dog food are harmful to a pig's digestive system. Instead, use feed specifically made for pigs, and always follow the suggested guidelines from the manufacturer to avoid overfeeding your animal. While pigs love to have extra treats, give them sparingly to manage their weight. For indoor pigs, include leafy greens by offering a salad and some vegetables a few times a week. You can also give your pig some fresh fruit so long as it doesn't have a pit or many seeds.

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9

Pig-proofing your home

Person holding mini pig

Having a pig indoors means you have to "pig-proof" you home. Because pigs are nosy, they will get into all kinds of places like cupboards, closets, and drawers. If you plan to use baby clips, make sure they're metal instead of plastic; otherwise, your pig could chew through it and break-in anyway. Pick up everything off the floor and never leave anything too small lying around. Pigs will try to consume anything in their path, including dangerous or toxic items, when left alone.

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10

Should you spay or neuter a teacup pig?

A pet pig should be spayed or neutered as soon as they reach the appropriate age. Unspayed females are more likely to develop uterine illnesses like infections or tumors. In comparison, unneutered males produce a smelly odor that will ruin your clothing and furniture. Even if you only have one pig, it is always best to get it spayed or neutered. The best age to neuter your pig is between 8 to 12 weeks.

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