While the popularity of pot bellied pigs as pets has waned in urban areas, they are still available and legal in many cities. While they are intelligent and affectionate, they also have special needs that may make them unsuitable for many urban homes. The main concerns are medical and behavioral issues.
Spaying and neutering will be the first important concern. An intact female pot bellied pig will not present too many problems, unless, of course, there is an intact male companion. Pregnancy can result in litters of pigs that often end up in shelters, if they are lucky enough to find a spot. Most pig shelters are filled to capacity with pigs from urban owners who were overwhelmed by their needs.
Intact male pigs become aggressive as they reach sexual maturity, and may swipe with their sharp tusks. They also emit a musky odor that is difficult to eradicate.
Finding an animal hospital, such as Earlysville Animal Hospital, to perform spaying and neutering in urban areas may be difficult. It should be done when the pigs are younger, before they reach sexual maturity. They are also easier to transport when younger.
Transporting pot bellied pigs to veterinarians can also be an issue as they become larger. While smaller than other domestic pig breeds, they can still weigh enough that you may find difficulty finding a suitable tranport carrier.
While some pigs will adapt to a harness and ramp to access your vehicle, others may balk at being restrained. Pigs are natural prey for predators in the wild, and instinctually fear being restrained. In addition, some pigs tend to defecate in mind-boggling quantities, especially when nervous. You don't want that in your vehicle.
In addition to spaying and neutering, pigs need regular hoof trimming and suffer from many of the same ailments as humana as they age, particularly if they are allowed to become obese.
The main behavioral concern involves the basic nature of pigs. They love to eat, and their extremely enhanced sense of smell, coupled with their massive necks, make them prolific burrowers. They will dig up and entire yard or every floor tile in a room looking for a treat. They also don't differentiate between actual food and other materials, and will munch on drywall, cat litter and feces, and anything else available.
Pot bellied pigs are also social and hierarchical animals, and will compete for dominance in their human family herd. While they may not challenge their owner for the top position, they may complete for second place with children or new mates. Competition may include grunting, squealing, charging, or head swipes.
Because pigs are intelligent and social animals, they may also become distructive when bored or alone for long periods, so consider carefully if you have the time to care for a city pig before you bring one into your home