5 Steps to a Pet-Pig Friendly Home

Pig proofing your home can reduce your likelihood of having to make an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Here are some simple steps that can take to keep your home safe and pet–pig friendly for your family member:

      1. Build a Great First-Aid Kit
        Having a first-aid kit on hand will give you the provisions you will need if your pet pig has a minor medical situation. In the event of a serious or life –threatening incident, the supplies in the kit may help you keep your pet pig stable until you get to the veterinarian office,

        • Adhesive tape
        • Bandages
        • Co-Flex flexible bandage
        • Cotton balls
        • Gauze pads
        • Gloves
        • Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent)
        • Scissors
        • Thermometer- rectal
        • Tweezers
      2. Keep Poisonous Substances Sealed and Out of Reach
        Pet pigs love to taste almost everything around them. Unfortunately, they seem to like the taste of many foods, plants, and chemicals that are poisonous to them, and they can ingest a dangerous or lethal amount in a short time.ChemicalsChemicals of all kinds present a danger to pet pigs. Cleaning supplies may look like enticing pig toys to be opened or chewed on, and many people keep them in the cabinet under the kitchen or bathroom sink. If you have a pet pig who is able to get into cabinets, invest in a lock or move the chemicals to a safer location.Other chemical dangers include paint cans, lawn care material, and winterizing products. Always make sure that these products are properly sealed and safely stored away. Antifreeze tops the list of chemicals that poison pet pigs because of its sweet taste. Puddles of antifreeze lurk in garages, in driveways, and on roads. Never let your pet pig lick or drink from a puddle, it could contain antifreeze or other toxic substances.Toxic Foods

        Foods that are safe for humans can be toxic to pet pigs. Store any toxic foods in your upper cabinets or on your highest shelves. If your pig is clever enough to open doors, use childproof locks on your cabinet and refrigerator doors.

        The following are some foods that are toxic/ not safe to pet pigs:

        • Meat
        • Alcoholic drinks
        • Apple seeds
        • Caffeinated drinks
        • Pits from peaches, plums and cherries
        • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener
      3. Keep Your Home and Yard Escape Proof
        A pet pig who can walk off into the unknown is at risk. You will need to take extra measures to keep them safely inside.Indoor dog gates or baby gates are an easy way to keep your pet pig away from open doors. Make sure that the gate is strong enough to prevent pushing the gates over.Be extra cautious if visitors or maintenance workers are going in and out. Asking them “not to let the pet pig out” is not a realty safety precaution. If the danger of your pet pig escaping will only last for a short time, you can put them in their crate with a treat.If your yard has a fenced-in area, make sure that the fence is strong enough to contain your pet pig. Also make sure that the fence is flush enough to the ground to prevent rooters from escaping (you may need to lay cement for more persistent pigs).Accommodate Your Senior Pet Pig

        There are numerous ways to keep senior pet pigs and pet pigs with arthritis happy and comfortable, including food and water bowls, orthopedic dog beds, and even heated bed warmers.

        Reduce Clutter around the Home

        Reducing clutter around your home will lessen the chance that your pet pig will chew on items that can be hazardous to their health. And giving your pet pig a more enjoyable alternative to destructive chewing will help minimize the random chewing of items around the home or the house itself, including baseboards and drywall by shifting their chewing desires to a durable kid’s toy.

        Does your pet pig like to chew paper? Get rid of those piles of newspapers and magazines.

        Prevent Destructive Chewing

        Our homes are filled with electronic gadgets, such as smartphones, tablets, and remotes. Pet pigs have been known to chew on these items; in fact, it is estimated that pet pigs damage some 3 thousand or more worth of electronic devices in the U.S. every year! In addition to having sharp metal or plastic pieces, these devices often contain highly dangerous materials. Don’t leave your gadgets strewn around the house in places where your pet pig can find them.

      4. Don’t leave electrical cords exposed
        Curious pet pigs might find themselves behind your TV or near a lamp thinking its rubber cord is a fun toy. Because pigs explore with their nose and mouths, electrical cords are extremely hazardous. You can purchase cord protectors to keep them off limits when you’re unable to supervise.
      5. Place human food out of reach
        It doesn’t take long for pet pigs to figure out where all the goodies are stored. Human foods, especially those that are notoriously poisonous for pigs and foods pigs should not eat to keep them safe and healthy, and even their pig food, should be securely stashed away to avoid messes, overeating, and harmful ingestion when you’re not able to supervise.

Halloween Items Your Pet Pig Should Avoid

When the calendar page flips to October, count on a chill in the air, leaves changing from red to amber, and hot soups and football games. The tenth month of the year also signals the end of the harvest season, the beginning of the holiday festivities, and, on October 31, the magical night of Halloween. That’s when children dress up as ghosts and princesses, go to door to door asking for candy, and call out, “Trick or Treat!” The kids are happy, but your pet pig? Not so much.

When they see you give the little ones a sweet treat that they pop in their mouths or drop into their pumpkins, your pig will naturally want in on the goodies. They love food! and when they look at those big piggy-pig eyes, you will think they are hungry. If this tempts you to unwrap a piece of candy and give it to them, resist the urge! Chances are, they won’t be hungry, especially if you feed them dinner before the superheroes and cheerleaders come knocking. They will just want to eat what you and the kids are eating, but don’t give in!

Candy is Not Dandy for Pet Pigs
Candy of all forms is unhealthy for pigs. Also forget giving your pet pig candy made with xylitol. This non-caloric sweetener, used in sugar-free gum, candy, and baked goods, is off-limits. While xylitol doesn’t affect human blood sugar levels, it’s dangerous for pet pigs because it causes more insulin to circulate through their body, which lowers blood sugar and can lead to liver failure.

Is candy made with real sugar any healthier? No. Eating too much sugar may lead to obesity and dental issues.

Safe Halloween Treats
If you want to give your pet pig some healthy snacks on Halloween Eve, it helps to prepare them the day before or in the morning. Once your pig gets a whiff of their own special snacks, they’re want to gobble all of them, but limit how much you give them.
Here are some good replacements for candy that you can feel good about giving to your pet pig:
Small sliced pieces of vegetables. Good choices, are apple and blueberries, all in small portions. Pet pigs also like melons. Make sure that all stems, leaves, seeds, and pits are removed, as these can cause intestinal obstruction; many pits also contain poisonous cyandine. Washed grapes and raisins are also good.

Keeping Your Pet Pig Safe in the Summer Heat

Ah, those lazy days of summer- or not? Even though the weather has become a lot warmer in the afternoon, don’t allow your pig to become a couch potato. They still need exercise, although it’s essential to take extra precautions to keep them healthy and safe no matter how high the mercury rises.

Don’t overdo it: During the summer months, it’s especially important to take things slowly with your pet pig to prevent them from overheating. Keep exercise sessions short and sweet- a shorter walk outdoors followed by a break and then a play session indoors may be just the right mix. And on especially hot days, try exercise indoors as much as possible to keep your pig cool and comfortable.

Avoid the hottest part of the day: In general, the sun is at its peak between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so it’s best to exercise your pig in the early morning or evening, when temperatures are cooler.

Provide lots of water: Did you know that your pig’s body comprises approximately 70 percent water? Water is an essential nutrient that keeps their cells functioning properly; without it, their body will shut down. While exercising, a pig sweats primarily through area about their nose, so it’s crucial that they have access to cool, fresh water at all times to replace what they’re expending. If they play outdoors, place a water bowl in a shady area to ensure easy access.

Apply sunscreen: It may seem odd, but pet pigs can become sunburned, just as humans do! Light-colored and black colored are especially susceptible. For the best protection, apply adult –specific sunscreen to your pig’s ears, and anywhere you see pink skin.

Supervise all activities: No matter which activities you and your pig enjoy, supervise them at all times. For example, swimming can be a fun summertime sport, and many pigs enjoy the water immensely, but the swimming pool can be a dangerous place. Make sure the pool is fenced to prevent your pig from accidentally falling in, and install a ramp to make getting in and out of the water a breeze.

Observe your pet pig’s condition: Whenever you and your pet pig are outdoors in warm weather, watch for signs of overexertion or heatstroke. A pig with a heatstroke may display symptoms such as rapid open –mouth breathing, a pounding heartbeat, and high body temperature. Call the vet immediately if your pig experiencing this emergency medical condition. Your best bet is to prevent the problem in the first place by limiting strenuous outdoor exercise on warm days and never leaving your pet pig in poorly ventilated areas.

New NAPPA Committee on Potbellied Pig Care

A new committee has been formed in pet pig care that will work to promote the well-being of pet pigs and related issues to share information, improve the safety of the pet pig with this new Potbellied Pig Care Committee.  With potbellied pig ownership surging, it is even more important that our responsible potbellied pig care takes a leadership role to help the many areas of potbellied pig journeys which will engage in the benefit of the potbellied pigs, the families who will bring them home and enjoy their companionship.

This journey will begin once a pet pig is adopted to a loving family.  We will invite other pig organizations to participate such as rescues to assist with their expert advice.  Pig rescues will have the knowledge of their own potbellied pig from their rescue of the pigs’ personality, etc….

Veterinarian care for your pet pig is one of the most important way you as an owner can do for your pet pig.   With educating yourself on proper potbellied pig care and health problems by finding answers from trusted, reliable sources of information such as your veterinarian. 

  • Responsible potbellied pig ownership

When choosing to add a potbellied pig to the family, you may spend more time focusing on the happiness you expect your potbellied pig will bring.  While they can certainly bring happiness, they also come with a set of commitments that everyone should consider. This is a great time to be reminded about what it means to be a good potbellied pig parent.  While there is no true definition of a responsible pig parent, there are a few accepted tips to help create a happy, healthy life for your potbellied pig.

  • Commitment

When adopting your pig you should commit to caring for them for their entire life.  Potbellied pigs depend on their humans for their daily care throughout their entire lives.  You should consider your ability to care for a potbellied pig for however long their lifespan may be.  Certainly life hands us things we don’t expect, so you should also consider who may be able to care for your potbellied pig if circumstances stops you from being able to do so yourself.

  • Food And Shelter

Providing your potbellied pig with the basic necessities of life should go without saying.  Your pig will need daily access to clean, fresh water, healthy and nutritious pig food, and shelter from the elements. NEVER FED YOUR POTBELLIED MEAT OR MEAT PRODUCTS. 

  • Healthcare

Regular vet care is key to helping your potbellied pig live a long and healthy life.  It’s best to establish a relationship with a veterinarian to help keep you on track with regular check-ups.  An established relationship with a vet can also be helpful as your potbellied pig ages.  Your vet can help you keep your pig comfortable, pain free, and loved.

  • Spay and Neuter

Potbellied pig overpopulation is a real issue in our country.  Responsible potbellied pig ownership includes preventing your pig from reproducing by getting them spayed or neutered. Until every homeless pet pig has a home, there is no reason for any potbellied pig to reproduce.

  • Training and Socializing

Behavioral issues are the number one reason why miniature pigs are surrendered. To rescues, so training and socializing our pet pigs helps making sharing our homes with them much easier.  A potbellied pig who has been trained in basic training knows what behaviors are acceptable.  This can help them be more cooperative, comfortable, and confident in the home environment. 

  • Exercise and Enrichment

Our potbellied pigs need to stay in shape just like we do.  Regular exercise is necessary to keep them healthy.  Regular exercise also provides the mental stimulation that keeps them happy.  Pigs long for the attention of their humans.

  • Love

This may be the most important responsibility of all.  Our potbellied pigs are not possessions we own.  They are pets who depend on us for their care.  They need our love and devotion throughout their lives and should be welcomed into our homes as members of the family.  Our potbellied pigs are in tune with us and live for our happiness.  Responsible potbellied pig parents work hard to do the same for them.

Keeping your Potbellied Pig Healthy is Top Priority

Pig 101- Know your pig

Potbellied pigs, piglet, pet pig, whatever you prefer to call them- we all love them and want to keep them healthy, but to keep them healthy is the heart of survival.

Your pig is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, therefore be sure and provide them with plenty of fresh water.  Snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.

  1. The Importance of Hydration

Symptoms of dehydration

  1. Off feed for 12 to 24 hours
  2. Lethargic
  3. Lowered energy level
  4. Depressed
  5. Bloated
  6. Shaking (pain)
  7. Inability or unwillingness to stand and/or walk
  8. Lowered body temperature (98’or lower)
  9. Elevated body temperature (101’ or higher)
  10. Rapid, shallow breathing
  11. Fecal matter is a hard, dry and small pellet instead of clusters of pellets. The pig has produced less volume in the two to three days prior to the episode. Sometimes straining is observed.
  12. Urine output has decreased over a two to three day period. Again, sometimes straining is apparent.

Activity level has dropped, the pig has become cranky and unwilling to readily eat or drink

  1. What is Biosecurity? Reference: Dr. John Carr

Biosecurity is defined as a set of procedures that are executed to prevent new diseases from entering the premises where a potbellied pig or pigs are kept and/or housed.  There are two basic concepts that affect the safety of pet pigs:

  • Proactive measures which keep new diseases from being introduced.
  • Reactive measures to take should a disease or suspected disease appear

Create a Biosecurity Plan

Potbellied pig owners should have and maintain a good working relationship with a veterinarian who is willing to provide medical care for their potbellied pig.  A veterinarian can help a pig owner on what precautionary measures should be implemented to keep their potbellied pig healthy and disease-free.  In the event that a pig is faced with an unforeseen medical issue or disease, a veterinarian can help. It’s important to never feed your potbellied pig meat or meat products. 

Pigs cannot tell us when they are sick, so it is important to pay special attention to your pig condition during winter season.

Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and in garages, is highly poisonous.  Although it may smell and taste good to your pig, it can be lethal.

Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, may irritate foot pads.  Be sure to rinse and dry your pig’s hooves after a walk.

Why you should consider Fostering a Homeless Potbellied Pigs

Pig rescues and sanctuaries across the country have a need for a pet pig foster families willing to temporarily house and care for homeless pigs.  Foster homes are needed for many different reasons, including overcrowded rescues, for special needs (including medical), for pet pigs too young for adoption, and for pigs with little to no socialization.

 Potbellied pigs do better in foster homes.  They are less stressed than in rescues.  Their foster family can more easily evaluate their true behavior.  They often receive help to improve physical, emotional or behavior issues.  They can be socialized to a wide range of home situations involving children.  Potbellied pigs who’ve been abused can learn to trust people again.  What you can expect if you foster a potbellied pig will depend to a great extent on the circumstances the potbellied pig has lived in up to the point they enter your home.  Some require a minimum of time and energy, while others will need a lot of time and attention to help them improve their chances for adoption.

The easiest, fastest way to get connected to a potbellied pig fostering program is to contact your local rescue group. 

If you’re interested in making a real hands on difference in the lives of homeless potbellied pigs, there are many ways to help, depending on your time, resources, and talents. The need for potbellied pig foster parents varies by location.

Rescue organizations also often have extensive networks of foster families willing to temporarily house a potbellied pig awaiting a new forever home.  Fostering sets off a positive domino effect. 

Fostering is better for Potbellied Pigs

Living in a home with a family better prepares pigs for adoption than rescue living.  It’s also much less stressful for the pig.  Fostering pigs are much less to develop anxiety related behavior problems than pigs who spend time in a rescue environment. 

Foster families are better able to asses a pig’s true behavior because they can observe them extensively in a home environment.  Brief visits with an anxious rescue pig are often not adequate to learn the pig’s true nature. 

Fostering in a home in which there are children can provide a potbellied pig the chance to be socialized to a wider range of family configurations.  This opens up their possibilities for adoption to a greater number of families. 

If a potbellied pig has been rescued from an abusive situation, the foster family can build a bridge from the past where humans were scary, to a hopeful future full of people who are caring and loving. 

What to expect if you decide to foster

This will depend a great deal on the circumstances of the potbellied pig’s life up to the point they enter your home.  General rules apply, of course.  Piglets need more attention than most adult pigs.  Adult potbellied pigs require more time and energy.  A healthy potbellied pig will need appropriate nutrition, a few toys, lots of gentle hands on training.   Both situations will be rewarding for the foster families who help these pet pigs.  But if you have the time and resources to turn a homeless potbellied pig into a balanced, most socialized potbellied pig, not only will you feel tremendous gratification you will also likely save the life of that pet pig by dramatically improving the likelihood that will be adopted into a loving forever home. 

Most expenses you are expected to cover can be deducted.

Winter and your potbellied pig

Winter’s cold air brings lots of concerns for responsible potbellied pig owners.


Wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature reading.  A potbellied pig is not protected by fur, whether your pet lives exclusively outdoors or spends little time outside, adequate shelter is a necessity. An insulated pig house , perhaps with a heat source on the coldest days, is a must for any pig outside.  Be sure and keep your pig warm.  This time of year your pig will snuggle up in a warm, dry blanket and rug, whether she lives inside or outside.

To prevent frostbite on your pig’s ears, tail and hooves, do not leave your indoor pig outside for too long.  Be extra careful when walking your pig near frozen areas.  Potbellies can slip and be seriously injured.

Since your pig does not have much hair for protection against winter’s cold, a coat or sweater can provide the warmth your pig needs.  It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so you might need to provide your pig additional calories if she spends a lot of time outdoors.

Towel or blow dry your pig if he gets wet from rain or snow.  To avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads, it is important to clean and dry his hooves, too.

Do not leave your pig alone in a car.  It gets too cold and carbon monoxide from running engine is very dangerous.


Pigs cannot tell us when they are sick, so it is important to pay special attention to your pig’s condition during winter season.

Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and in garages, is highly poisonous.  Although it may smell and taste good to your pig, it can be lethal.

Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, may irritate foot pads.  Be sure to rinse and dry your pig’s hooves after a walk.

Your pig is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, therefore be sure and provide him plenty of fresh water.  Snow is not satisfactory substitute for water.

To prevent frostbite on your pig’s ears, tail, and hooves, do not leave your pig outdoors for too long.

Be careful of supplemental heat source.  Fireplaces, portable heaters, and heat lamps can severely burn your pig.  Make sure all fireplaces have screens and keep all heaters and lamps away from bedding and from your pig.

Like all of us, pigs seem more susceptible to illness in the winter.  Do make sure to take your pig to a veterinarian if you see any suspicious symptoms.

Be sure and consult your veterinarian before administrating any over-the-counter medications.


The winter season brings lots of fun holiday activities, but households with pigs must take special precautions.

The holidays are not ideal for introducing a pet into your family.  A new pig requires extra attention and a stable environment, which the holiday season doesn’t permit.  Also, a pet pig is not a toy or gift that can be returned. 

Instead, NAPPA suggests giving a wrapped picture of the pet to come. 

Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are among several poisonous plants that might tempt your pig.  You should make sure they are kept in places your pig cannot reach. 

Review holiday gifts for your pig to make sure they are safe.

Protect your pig from an unattended tree.  Holiday lights may burn, frayed electrical cords may shock or electrocute, glass ornaments may break and cut, and edible ornaments and inedible tinsel may be too much of a temptation for your pig.

Whether your tree is live or artificial, both kinds of needles are sharp and indigestible.  Never leave your pig unattended with your tree.

Your pig can smell right through those brightly wrapped packages.  Be sure to screen them for something that smells good or is edible.

Keep all seasonal goodies out of reach. 

The holiday season is a stressful time for pigs.  Try to keep a normal schedule during all the excitement.

Poisonous Foods and Plants for Potbellied Pigs

                                     NEVER GIVE MEAT OR MEAT PRODUCTS TO A POTBELLIED PIG

Which foods and plants are poisonous to potbellied pigs?  We are often asked which plants are poisonous to potbellied pigs and pigs in general.  There are many plant genera that contain poisonous plants not only for pet pigs, but for other animals and humans as well.  Identifying the most common poisonous plants is important in order to protect your pets.

Pigs are intelligent animals and it seems that they instinctively know what is good for them and what is not good for them. Most potbellied pigs in our experience will avoid eating toxic plants or parts of the plants. However, it is always best to remove poisonous plants from where the pet pigs will be outside to exercise and accidentally eating them.

We have compiled a short list of common poisonous plants which your potbellied pigs are most likely to come across in your gardens.  The list is by no means exhausted as there are more. 

  • Ivy
  • Laurel (not Bay Laurel)
  • Lilly of the Valley
  • Buttercup
  • Green acorns
  • Oleander
  • Sego Palm

Poisonous Foods for Potbellied Pigs

It’s important to never give meat or meat products to a pig as this may contain viruses that can cause severe diseases in pigs.  Potbellied Pigs love a variety of vegetables, fruits, and seeds.  Fresh foods are an important addition to the potbellied pig’s diet as they contain a number of important elements and nutrients not found in processed pelleted feeds. “It’s important to never give meat to your potbellied pig” However, not all vegetables and fruits are good for them and some can actually cause poisoning. Below is a list of some of these foods common in the United States.  The list is not exhausted.

  • Cabbage roots & seeds
  • Broccoli roots & seeds
  • Apple seeds
  • Green acorns
  • Tomato leaves & vine
  • Avocado skin & pit
  • Potato leaves & stems
  • Leaves of cherry trees, apples, plums & apricots
  • Parsnip
  • Green potatoes
  • Rhubarb leaves

Further educational materials from NAPPA if you are looking to expand your knowledge about pet pigs’ lifestyle, feeding and much more, why not take a look at our Educational Resources?  We hope you find the information contained helpful.  https://petpigs.com/education/diet-feeding/feeding-tips-for-your-pet-pig/  

Toys for Pigs

Keeping pigs stimulated makes for a happier, less destructive pig. I am very lucky to have a
pretty non destructive pig, but during the day she naps a lot. I would prefer for her to be more
engaged during the day than sleep. Unfortunately, with working, I cannot keep her entertained
throughout the day, and a treat ball only lasts for so long. Toys are tough with pigs, or at least
Snacks does not seem to care about them. And I will be honest, the more expensive the toy or
bed I buy for Snacks, the less she seems to care about it. We won’t even discuss the “taco
bed” that she acts like is it is Venus trap that is about toe eat her….sigh…. So when I saw
Varram on Amazon, I thought it would be either perfect of an expensive mistake. What is
Varram you ask…..Varram is a Pet Fitness Robot: Interactive Treat Dispenser and Companion
Robot for Dogs & Cats…….it’s like a Roomba that dances and spits out treats. You can make a
schedule of when Varram wakes up, dances, and how many treats he shoots out. At first, will
admit, this adorable little robot kept me more entertained than it did Snacks. It would spin
around the room, shake, dance, and really get around. Snacks just did not seem to care. Then
she would find random treats around the house…where did they come from? The best was
when she figured it out…..it was like a light bulb went off! Now as soon as she hears Varram,
or as we call him “Little V” start singing and moving around….she it following him, waiting for
treats. Little V is durable too…..let us just say Snacks is not always the most patient pig and
tries to push Little V around…..nope….he just spins around and starts dancing again. Is
Varram on the pricer side….yes…..but does he engage Snacks and is durable enough to take
her shoving her him around….yup…..I would recommend Varram to keep your pig engaged.

Dana aka Snacks’ Mom