After a harsh winter, we are all looking forward to summer and warmer temperatures! There is no denying how exhausted we are of the freezing cold and added work needed to properly care for the animals in those treacherous conditions. Rest assured... Summer is right around the corner! With that in mind, let's get some recommendations out for summertime fun and safety with your pet pig.
*Avoid Sunburns. All color variations and pigments can suffer a sunburn but pink pigs are especially susceptible. Always make sure to apply a thin layer of sunscreen to your pig before long days in the sun. Make sure it is a sunscreen made for children or a spray already made for animals. I use Banana Boat Kids broad spectrum sumscreen lotion. Ones made for animals can easily be found at any major pet retailers like PetsMart or Petco. If your pet does get a minor burn, grab some spray or rub on Aloe Vera gel and apply topically.
*Avoid over heating. Make sure to always have an area in which your pet can retreat in to the shade if it becomes too warm. Never leave a pig in total direct sunlight without a way to escape the sun, even for an hour, as this can be deadly.
*Always have fresh cool drinking water on hand and easily accessible to your pet. Pet pigs will try everything they can to flip over or get in to a water dish. Make sure every hour that your pig has clean fresh water that has not been dumped or spilled.
*Outdoor pigs adjust with the changing seasons but pigs that are predominantly indoors their entire life can struggle with the sudden temperature change. Make sure to slowly increase your pigs outdoor exposure in gradual steps. Monitor them for any major attitude changes and signs that the heat may be too much for them. Always keep a watchful eye.
*Both indoor and outdoor pigs will always enjoy a nice wallow in the mud. This is a vey natural behavior for pigs. In the wild, pigs use wallowing to fulfill many important needs. Pigs have very few sweat glands and need to regulate their temperate, wallowing in mud can actually bring the pigs core temp down by 3.6 degrees. Having mud on the skin can also act as a natural sun blocker. Even more, it helps ward off insects. A mud bath can be messy but very rewarding for your pet pig!
*Plastic kiddie pools and even ones designed for pets at major pet stores, are wonderful summer time play places. If your pig struggles getting in to the pool, you can either cut a small door like hole in the side, don't make it so deep that it will no longer hold water though. Or you can dig a small hole and sink it in to the ground. Once a month, make sure to spray your kiddie pool with a bleach/water solution (10-20%) and scrub your pigs kiddie pool; make sure to rinse thoroughly. Dump the water and store your pool every evening or every day to promote a clean pool/environment . Please see our "Product page" for ideas on pet pig pools.
*Ingroud Pool safety. Many people have in ground pools and when summer time rolls around we live in them! Pet pigs do enjoy a good swim but never assume your pig can swim right from the start and just throw them in. Always start on a step or very shallow end. Make sure they never feel threatened or that they can't get out. try and gently guide them to the steps or ramp area. Always closely supervise a pet pig in a human pool, never leave them unattended! Think of and treat them as a small toddler around a pool.
*Enjoy enrichment exercises. Have a constantly hungry pig? Make them work for it! There are many toys on the market that make the pig roll around a toy or figure out how to get the unit to dispense food. This is wonderful exercise but also offers great stimulization! Even for outdoor pigs, you'd be surprised how much they love to work/play with a toy, for food. I like to wash out my milk cartons and then cut a small hole in the side a little higher than the food or treats. Tie a piece of twine to the milk carton handle and tie the other end lower on a fence. The pig will hit it and do anything necessary to get that food out. When the pig is done remove it and throw it away. I suggest always using a new milk carton every few days, this will ward off dirt and bacteria build up.
*The long summer evenings are a wonderful time to get your pig outside and let it graze on natural grass. If you live in a housing development or in the city, put that baby on a harness and take it to a nice area for an hour of hand grazing. If you live on a farm or have access to a fenced field or pasture, offer your pig a couple hours of outside grazing. This not only promotes healthy digestion but offers wonderful exercise for your pet. Have you ever seen a pig frolick? If you haven't, I promise you will if you let your piggy roam free in a pasture in the summer time!
Summer time can be a lot of fun with pets! What do you do with your piggies to ensure a delightful summer experience? Tell us about it!
We want to thank Crystal of Vegas Pig Pets for her blog contribution this week, all she has done and continues to do for our growing pet pig community! Like Mo Drose, she is a saint in this realm and a well known advocate for our dear companions. We thank you for all your time and dedication to continuing education and the vast knowledge you so willingly share with other pet parents.
How a small rescue was born to help one pig pet at a time...
Back in 2004, when I as looking to adopt a potbelly pig for a pet, I could not find any information or networking here in Las Vegas. I found piglets in pet stores and even, of all places, the swap meet, but no one could tell me anything about them! I have always adopted all my other animals, dogs, birds and even tortoises! I tried to adopt out of state from California and Utah but could not find any "pigpet" to call my own. After over a year of research and looking for that special pig, I felt I had no other choices. In 2005, I bought and flew my piglet home from a reputable NAPPA breeder we located in Texas. I named her Pork Chop, a name I had in mind for many years. She was the smartest, most special creature I had ever encountered. On my quest for information, care and training, I was able to find Pigs4Ever in Reno, NV and drove my 5-month old Pork Chop 8 hours to meet a "pig" trainer! How hard could this be, right? I was a professional bird trainer for many years! Well, finding out that pigs are like perpetual, intelligent 3 year old children, I was very surprised that my prior training skills were no help with a "prey" animal! Luckily at the Pigs4Ever Pignic, I met wonderful pig experts, Dottie & Richard Eggeman (www.Pigs4Ever.com), Phyllis Battoe (www.pigpalssanctuary.com) and Susan Stearns Young (renowned pig trainer) and with their help, I was well on my way to mastering the understanding and behavioral training of my pet pig!
She was a little overweight, a little too smart for her own good, but the most special, smartest animal I could have added to my family. Because of my inability to find information along the way and only finding people in the same boat as I was, totally misunderstanding their pigs, VegasPigPets got started in April of 2008. Not by choice, but by need. Joining a wonderful pig "club" called SCAMPP (www.scampp.org) out of Southern California, and hearing of the chatter from other pig rescue groups and sanctuaries, I knew there was a problem in Las Vegas. Misunderstood pet pigs were being given up to shelters, left in backyards to fend for themselves and even walking down busy streets. It was becoming a sad story, like so many other animals, the worsening economy, the foreclosure crisis, whatever the excuse, people were leaving their pet pigs behind. It was harder for the abandoned pigs, as they didn't just "fit in" at the shelters! By this time I had made a good friend and mentor of Marlies (www.pigharmony.com) and she convinced me I could help these pigs needing homes. She helped VegasPigPets get started, networking and pointing me toward resources that could help, even hundreds of miles away. A whole network of pig owners, rescuers and sanctuaries stepped up to network with me! Somehow people got my email, my phone number and finally my website, www.vegaspigpets.org, was born! It still saddens me to see how bad the problem is and how much worse it is still becoming. But we can all do something, even if it is one pigpet at a time! My 501(c)(3) was approved in December, 2008, so full blast forward I went to get the word out that there was help to educate owners in Las Vegas! My website has provided a valuable resource for pigpet owners in Las Vegas and surrounding areas that felt just like me, nowhere to turn, no one to ask, no one to provide education and guidance! Through my organization, I was able to collect over 24,000 pounds of blankets that were distributed to rescues and sanctuaries from Colorado to California. I was able to provide food and blankets to many owners that were out of jobs to help keep those pig pets in thier homes. I spent weekends helping trim hooves and doing behavior training with spoiled pigs, thereby preventing one more displacement. How one little piglet named Pork Chop started my organization still amazes me! VegasPigPets is a very small rescue, not originally zoned for more than one pig. I specialize in educating owners and doing whatever it takes to keep that pigpet in it's home. In 2010, I was able to work with the Animal Advisory Committee to add "Potbelly Pigs" to the list of "Companion Animals", hence allowing our county to require breeders to get licensed and to also prevent piglets under 8 pounds to be sold! In 2011, was I able to acquire my new 1/2 acre county property and in 2014 I received final zoning approval for up to 8 pigs. 8 total pigs is still not a lot compared to the problem, so I have to be selective on the pigs I take in, hence fierce educational programs and behavior training with pigs and their owners. I can proudly say that over 90% of the people I work with end up keeping their pigs!
In late 2010, when the "teacup" lies were turning into so many unwanted and abandoned pigpets, I, along with the input of many many rescues and sanctuaries, started the website, www.teacuppig.info. For legal protection, only links to stories and stories written in people's own words are posted. Greeders (aka greedy, lying teacup breeders) came after me with a vengeance! Even though over 140,000 people have viewed my "teacup" website, the problem is still as bad as ever and getting worse! Facebook also became popular, so my quest to inform and educate escalated to a new platform.
People always say "I'm just one person, I can't do much!" Well I am just one person, too. I may not end the unnecessary euthanization of pigpets in my lifetime but if we all just help just one pigpet that cannot help themselves, educate others on the specialized needs of our pig pet friends, help stop the "teacup" lies, support our wonderful, tireless pig sanctuaries and stop unnecessary pregnancies by promoting spaying and neutering... someday we all can say we helped eliminate the unnecessary euthanization of so many of our pet pigs! We are their voice, no matter how soft or loud, say something! Take a stand! Be their voice! One pet pig at a time!
The Hog Blog...
Jodi will be keeping up the blog but we are more interested in guest bloggers! Please contact us via email if you may be interested! Check back to see who our guest blogger is and what topic we will be exploring.