Miniature Pigs and Dogs
We are often asked if dogs can make good companions to pigs. In our own personal experience, dogs can get on with pigs especially if they have been brought up from a young age and grow up together. However, we always advise that these interactions are supervised as dogs do see pigs as prey and can chase them.
Even dogs who normally pay no attention to pigs can quickly change if a piglet suddenly squeals or runs away. To a dog, who is a predator by nature, this is too much of a temptation as they have a strong drive to chase. Some breeds of dogs have a stronger prey drive than others. Left unsupervised and unchecked such behaviour can lead to bad accidents and piglet injuries.
Generally, if you would like a companion for your dog we would not recommend a pig as a first choice. Dogs and pigs are very different and pigs really need to be with other pigs to be happy.
Pigs are herd animals. They are very social and actually prefer the company of their own kind. For this reason we do recommend that piglets are purchased together whenever possible, because also they are much easier to look after when they are kept with their own species. Therefore, as a breeder, we would always favour purchases of two piglets as a minimum.
Of course, sometimes, it may not be possible to buy two, simply because we may have an odd number of piglets born or as a customer you may not be able to have two for whatever reason. In this situation we would give preference to someone who would spend a lot of time with the piglet and, preferrably, they have other pets who would interact with him/her. We would also strongly encourage keeping piglets outdoors, not indoors, as this is a much better environment for the pigs allowing them to fully express their natural behaviour.
Are Miniature Pigs Difficult to Look after?
Miniature pigs are not difficult to look after once they are given the correct living environment and they are actually much easier than other domestic animals such as dogs and cats, in our opinion. Piggies thrive on company and they love human attention too.
A lot of our customers who have borrowed our piggies as part of Borrow My Piggy service had said that the pigs were easier to take care of than their own dogs! For one thing pigs do not need to be walked on a daily basis like dogs do. Their daily exercise needs can be easily met by letting your piggies run around your garden every day. By spreading their pellets around you would encourage piggies to explore and forage taking much longer time to eat their food rather than when they are fed from a bowl or trough. This will encourage the expression of their natural behaviour and keep piggies happy and prevent boredom. Pigs can also be trained which will keep them occupied and happy.
Pigs are also quite inexpensive to keep, again, compared to other pets. A 20kg bag of Pelleted Pig Food will cost anywhere between £13.50 – £18.00 (delivery costs may apply) depending on where you buy it from – this is good quality Allen and Page Pot-bellied pig food. There are cheaper brands available but not as high quality as Allen and Page. This bag will last younger piglets several weeks and a couple of adult pigs up to 3 weeks.
In terms of veterinary care costs, they vary from vet to vet. Generally pigs are quite healthy animals if they are looked after properly and don’t get as many health issues as other farm animals do. We have only had to call the vet out twice in the past two years for a foot infection in a piglet requiring antibiotic treatment. Vet fees vary from practice to practice – it’s always best to find a farm vet as soon as you can and even before you get your pet piggies and find out their prices.
Are Pigs Noisy?
This is another common question prospective miniature pig owners ask. Generally, in our personal experience, miniature pigs are not as noisy as many people think. Pigs would make noise at meal times when they see the owner coming to feed them or when they anticipate the feeding time. Some pigs squeal and others don’t. This depends on the breeding lines and mostly on training. Otherwise, they don’t make much noise if they are happy and well fed!