Merck Manual

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Pet Owner Version

Special Considerations for Potbellied Pigs


D. Bruce Lawhorn


Reviewed/Revised Jul 2020 | Modified Oct 2022

Potbellied pigs are very sensitive to extremes of heat and cold and should be provided a clean, dry, draft-free environment. Adults are usually comfortable in a temperature range of 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Because pigs do not sweat, temperatures above 85°F (29.5°C) are stressful for adults. Extended exposure to high temperatures combined with high humidity may be fatal. Potbellied pigs are more susceptible to disease when kept in stressful environmental conditions. In general, the younger the pig, the more severe the impact of environmental stress.

Potbellied pigs are rooting animals and need an area suitable for this behavior. Owners should expect and tolerate rooting in lawns and gardens and/or the disturbance that results when potbellied pigs root in blankets, carpets, or other items inside the home. Using fencing to allow access only to certain areas will minimize damage. In addition, routine hoof maintenance and special dental care are required to keep these pigs healthy.

Most zoning ordinances classify potbellied pigs as livestock and not pets. They are, therefore, banned from residential properties in many urban and residential communities. To avoid zoning problems and litigation, individuals are advised to check local zoning regulations before acquiring a potbellied pig.

Potbellied pigs do not make suitable pets for apartment dwellers or residents of high-density condominium complexes.

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