Ellmer's Tail: What Does it Mean to Have a Pet Pig? | Care First Blog

ellmer the pet pig looking cute under a blanket

Hi everyone! It’s me, Ellmer the pig! As I continue to grow, I am learning more and more how superior and a little complicated the pig is compared to the dog and cat. I live with my mom (Dr. Wages) and her dogs, cat, rabbits, duck, and chickens and I just love to romp and play with everyone! I am 46.7 pounds (I started at 3 pounds when I was 8 weeks old and will continue to grow for another 3 years!) and am getting big enough that everyone likes to pile on top of my when I am sleeping to keep warm. It is quite a sight! But, it made me start to think about the difference between being a pet pig and being a pet dog or cat in a house with a family.

How Long do Pigs Grow For?

First of all, pigs will grow for 4 years! A lot of people will adopt a piglet, thinking the parents are full grown, when they are still babies themselves! So, when the piglet grows up, it is too big to stay in the house and ends up in a rescue. That is so sad! I can’t wait until I am all grown up! I wonder how big I am going to get (Mom keeps asking me the same thing)! We just moved into a bigger house with ramps instead of steps (because I can’t go down steps and Mom was carrying me to bed and down every night) and I just love all the ramps!

Keeping a Pig Indoors vs. Outdoors

Unlike my dog friends, I would much rather spend a few hours outside digging in the yard and eating acorns and bugs. My dog friends like to hang out in the sun with me for a little bit, but then they want to go inside and chew on their bones and toys. I try to tell them about all the wonders outside, but their noses aren’t built like mine. I can dig a trench in anything if there is an acorn buried! A lot of pet pig owners don’t understand the need to dig and burrow and don’t give us pigs time outside to eat grass and leaves. The pigs then get destructive in the house and I have heard of them making holes in the walls!  They can get digestive problems if they aren’t getting the right fiber. I look forward to my “salad time” every night when I get home after work! I commonly come inside with a face full of dirt, wearing a big smile that makes my mom laugh!

ellmer the pet pig eating grass

Choking: A Major Pig Problem

Did you know that one of the most common causes of premature death in potbelly pigs is choking? I have heard stories of at least two pigs recently that choked on a piece of food and died at a year or less! My mom is very careful to watch me when I am eating to make sure I am ok. I choked on my Flintstone vitamin when I was little and a piece of apple recently. She also puts water in my food to make it sloppy so I don’t have problems.

Training a Pet Pig

Pet pigs are also not like dogs when training. I have seen my dog friends in training and they will do anything for a piece of treat and are always happy to see Mom. Well, I have picked up on some of this and am very good when there is food involved, sometimes I am a little pushy around the food (I am a pig, right?), but if my Mom gets mad at me, then I get mad at her. Pigs can hold grudges for a long time. We are much happier with praises when we are doing good! Because of that, potty training takes a little longer (again…we are smarter than those silly dogs)…it took me a year to be completely potty trained! And we can get upset if our person(s) go out of town and leave us with a stranger. I am sometimes mad at Mom when she goes away for a trip, but I forgive her pretty fast because I love her! We pigs are very sensitive!

When do Pigs Grow Tusks? And How to Care for Them
ellmer the pet pig smiles in the grass

I will be two years old in February and my tusks are just starting to grow. Tusks are actually teeth that come out sideways and they are what we use to defend ourselves. If someone (or something) is threatening us, we will turn our head fast and can cut whatever is threatening us pretty bad. My mom said when my tusks start to show she is going to have to file them back so I don’t accidentally hurt one of my dog friends. I just love my friends and don’t want to hurt them unintentionally!

There are so many fun things I am learning about being a pig! I love my dog and cat friends very much, as well as my outside friends! I have been busy with school and going to work to socialize the dogs to us pigs, but would love to meet you! Feel free to stop by our Oberlin location and give me a scratch or a banana!

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