Pigs are omnivores that typically eat multiple small meals throughout the day. A mini-pig’s base diet should consist of a commercially available, nutritionally balanced pelleted chow formulated for mini-pigs. Different formulations are available based on the life stage of the pig. In addition to pelleted pig chow, pigs may be fed small amounts of other foods, including fresh or frozen vegetables and small amounts of fruit. Pelleted food should be offered first to help ensure it is consuming a balanced diet. The exact amount of pelleted food to feed depends on the brand being fed; most brands give general feeding recommendations calculated from their caloric content. Treats such as small pieces of succulent fruits or vegetables may be offered once or twice a day and are best used as rewards in training.
There are many breeds of miniature pigs, including the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. In addition to pot-bellied pigs, the term mini-pig includes an additional 14 recognized breeds of small pigs including Julianas and KuneKunes. Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs can be as heavy as 200 pounds, reach a height of 14-20 inches at the shoulders and typically live for 14-21 years. Mini-pigs communicate both with sounds and with body language. Mini-pigs should never be left alone unsupervised with even the friendliest, potentially predatory, dogs and cats. Mini-pigs are very smart and can be trained to walk on a leash/harness and to sit, stay, come, and retrieve objects.
The most common skin problem in mini-pigs is dry skin that results from a dietary deficiency of fatty acids. In addition to dry skin, mini-pigs commonly suffer from sarcoptic mange, parakeratosis, yeast dermatitis, and sunburn. Hooves of mini-pigs grow continuously throughout life and need to be trimmed periodically. The canine teeth (tusks) of male pigs grow throughout life, while those of females stop growing at about two years of age. Starting after the pig is about a year of age and usually after giving the pig a sedative, your veterinarian will trim tusks during an examination.
Just like other pets, mini-pigs should have a complete veterinary check-up after they are acquired and then annually after that. Your pig may need to be sedated for examination. Your veterinarian will determine the vaccines that are advisable for your pig, based on your pig's potential exposure to pathogens, breeding status, and geographic location. An analysis of your pig's feces should be performed annually to check for gastrointestinal parasites. Pet pigs should be screened for mites through a skin scraping. Veterinarians also will often help pig owners with hoof care and tusk trimming. Neutering of males and spaying of females is recommended for all pigs.