Pot Bellied Pigs/potbelly pig

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QUESTION: Mimi my friends 1 year old potbelly pig has sunburned ears.  What can we use to protect and heal the sunburn? Her husband who loves animals brought Mimi home about 3 weeks ago.  They have a fenced in place for her in dirt but did not have shelter.  He is very busy with work and didn't think through what he should have had ready before he brought her home.  What advice do you have for shelter, bedding etc.

Thank you for your help.

ANSWER: You canuse any product made for people on your pig, including sunburn lotions and sunscreen.

The keywords for a good shelter are DRY and WINDPROOF. Climate plays a big role in choosing a good shelter. In warm climates where temperatures seldom dip below freezing, a simple dog-a-loo positioned so the floor does not get wet, will be fine. In colder climates, a small wood (not metal) shed with a floor raised at least a few inches above the ground, will work. Other solutions include putting a dog-a-loo inside an ordinary garage, with a pet door so piggy can go in and out, or putting the dog a loo inside a small shed or even surrounding it with stacked bales of straw, covered with a tarp. The last option is not beautiful, but will keep a pig warm even in very cold climates (as long as the floor of the dogaloo stays dry)

Straw ie the best bedding. Hay is thin blades of dried grass, used as food. Straw is the thick, hollow stems from grains like wheat or oats. These hollow tubes hold the heat and give straw it's insulating power. But, like any bedding, it needs to be kept dry. Damp bedding of any sort does not hold heat.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Helen for your quick reply.  We leave in Southern California.  Mimi lives in Malibu  - not on the beach - it never gets real cold here.  Is a dogaloo or the dog Igloo ok for hot weather?   My friend thought at first it would be too hot for Mimi in summer (this Thursday and Friday is going to reach 100 in the valley - the beach about 87 degrees} - we are waiting for some fall weather.  They seem to bathe her about once a week - should they be doing this so frequently?

I am so glad to have found this website!!!!  It will be a big help in educating Mimi's new parents.

Regards,

Answer
I think most dogaloos have a vent at the top to let heat out, so look for one with a vent. If piggy is too hot inside, piggy will push most of the straw out. When it is really hot piggy might prefer to camp outside in a shady spot. If there aren't any trees to provide shade, you can use almost anything to make shade, like an ordinary pop-up canopy, with two legs fastened to the fence so it won't topple, a patio umbrella, or a canvas tarp or even an old bedsheet folded into a triangle, and fastened along the top of the fence in a a corner making a shaded corner. It can hang quite low, almost waist high on a human, it just needs to be a couple feet above the pigs head for ventilation.

Water is really important in hot climates. Pigs usually love plastic kiddie swimming pools, and a pool will discourage piggy from trying to take a swim in (and spilling) the water dish. Of course once a water dish is tipped, the water is gone until a person can check and refill the dish, and that could be a dangerous problem in hot weather. Anchoring the water dish to a wall or fence helps, or you can fasten it to the center of a 4x4 piece of plywood. Piggy must stand on the plywood to drink, and can't tip the plywood while he's standing on it. But, I must say, I have seen clever pigs tip the plywood and bowl by standing next to the wood and digging their snouty under it!

Pigs can be bathed often or not at all. Highly trained pigs that do therapy work or perform in shows or on TV get bathed a lot. Many outdoor pet pigs, mine included, never get an official "bath" except for a dip in the pool. Pigs that live indoors or visit often indoors can get a bath whenever they need. Some people wipe their pigs feet off every time the pig comes inside. The trick to doing this successfully is to do it every single time, so the pig knows it must happen.  

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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