By Chad Ruiz
We all know the story of Wilbur in E. B. White’s acclaimed “Charlotte’s Web.” That “terrific” pig who employed the help of a spider to keep him from the chopping block. For a farm animal to show such intelligence, he really must have been “some pig.” Little did White know that some 66 years later, pigs would oink their way into domestication and even earn the label as smartest domestic pet.
Pigs make great pets because…
They’re clean! Contrary to popular belief, pigs are very clean. They don’t sweat so they don’t smell. Pigs wallow in mud on hot days to keep cool. When kept in the comforts of a home, a pet pig smells as bad as a pet rock.
They’re extremely intelligent. Depending on who you ask, pigs rank in the top tier of smarts along with animals like the elephant, dolphin and even chimpanzee. So smart and so clean are they, that a group of European wild boars at the Basel Zoo in Switzerland were recently observed cleaning off dirty apple slices in a stream before consuming the fruit.
They potty-train quicker than dogs. Pigs enjoy a clean living environment and prefer doing their business as far away from their home as possible. Many pig owners housebreak their package of pudge with routine potty outings. Some pigs learn to notify their owner when it’s time. Pigs can also learn to use litter boxes (don’t use cat litter) and potty pads.
Pigs come packed with emotions. They easily attach themselves to loving people and animals. They also quickly learn to recognize their owners and other visitors.
Some cons of pig ownership…
Because they’re so smart, pigs quickly figure out where food gets stored and can easily learn to open cabinets, drawers and even refrigerator doors. Pig aficionados encourage pet owners to install child locks and keep purses and bags off the floor.
Pigs also require room to roam both indoors and outdoors. While most pigs will happily accept your offer to live inside, they still require several hours of outdoor activity each day. It’s best to provide an outdoor pig house for daytime lounging.
Pigs are…well, pigs and easily exceed one hundred pounds. Potbellied pigs are the smallest varieties and typically weigh between 100 to 250 pounds. Even so, they’re very compact and take up the same space as a medium-sized dog. Compared to their cousin, the farm hog which reaches over 1,000 pounds, it’s no wonder breeders label potbellied pigs as miniature.
Dogs and pigs do not mix. Dogs are predators and pigs are prey. While there are many examples of dog-pig friendships, if you’re looking for a companion for your piggy, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and most other non-predators make great buddies.
Before adopting any animal, it’s always wise to research! Hundreds of websites and resources are available informing you of everything that’s needed for pig ownership. Pigs literally cry when sad. The last thing you want to do is give away your pig.