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Pot Bellied Pigs/Cooling down in summer

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Question
Hi Helen!

I live in Southern California with my five year old mini pig Winston. We are currently going through a heat wave and I am wondering if you have any tips for cooling down since piggies do not have sweat glands. He is an indoor grump that doesn't like to spend that much time outdoors. Even if I did get him a pool to splash around in he most likely wouldn't want to get in it because he is not a fan of baths or water. I leave the fans on to keep the air cool but he likes to sunbathe and I feel like his body gets too hot. You can tell that he is too warm laying in the sun because he looks exhausted and makes panting noises but he just keeps flopping down in front of the sunny window even when I make him move. I leave him clean water everyday but he only drinks it at meal times. When he was younger he liked to chew in ice but he's not really interested in it anymore. I am worried that he is doing too much sunbathing and is getting too hot. Other than giving him fruit juice mixed in his water do you have any other helpful tips? I will give him a bit of fruit juice to trick him into drinking water but I don't want him to get used to a sugary habit. Do you think putting a frozen water bottle in his bed would be a good idea? He just looks so exhausted and hot and I want to do what I can to keep him comfortable. Any other summer cool down tips you have are greatly appreciated.

Answer
It can be hard to convince a pig that a warm, comfortable sleeping spot is just too hot, especially if that's his favorite spot. Try making a comfy bed for him someplace away from the windows. Tempt him to use it by hiding a few treats there. Some pigs don't mind fans, others are really bothered by the breeze. If piggy doesn't like the fan blowing right on him, adjust it so the breeze blows over his head.

When he is panting from the heat, try cooling him down a little by wiping him with damp towels. Don't make them too cold or he won't like them at all. But if they are just a bit cooler than air temperature, he might not mind it. As his body heat evaporates the water, it will cool him down.

Treats like frozen grapes will help keep him cool. If he isn't interested in chewing ice, you can still drop a few cubes into his drinking water

You could try putting some cold things in his bed. Frozen water bottles do work well, stuff them inside an old sock so it feels soft. The frozen cold packs that are used to keep a cooler cold work well too. Wrap them in a small towel or pillowcase.

I have not tried this myself, but a friend of mine used those cooling scarf neck ties made for people on her pig, but she tied it so the cool part was on the jowels under the chin.  

Pot Bellied Pigs

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Helen Morrison

Expertise

Pot-bellied or other miniature pet pig care, including diet, housing, training, health care. Can provide information about zoning, adoption, supplies, and organizations. Questions about any kind of pet swine are welcome!

Experience

Owning, raising, and caring for small pet swine, including "Vietnamese" pot-bellied pigs since 1992.

Organizations
Pigs of Great Fortune; FAREC; PigCollaborative

Education/Credentials
BBA from KSU

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