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Pot Bellied Pig Health and Information Articles
Just a few of the articles Phyllis has written on the care and well being of Potbellied Pigs.

FAQS Center
Here you will find Questions that people like you have asked Phyllis over the years with her Answers.

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LOTS of pictures of pigs that call Pig Pals Sanctuary home.

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A few pictures of some of the other critters that call Pig Pals Sanctuary™ home.

King Charles and BinBin

Potbellied Pig FAQ's and Information

Below: Potty Training

Q : I have finally gotten Mollie to hold it during the day while we're at work, but now she has accidents at night. She never had one before I started the "no potty inside" thing. Tonight I am trying something new. I took her
water bowl up after dinner (10:00 pm, I was out). I let her out to potty after dinner. I hope this will help. I needed to have fed her sooner so that dinner would have had time to cycle through, but I'm going to bed now. Guess
I'll clean it up in the morning if she has another accident. Any idea why she suddenly started doing this? Does she just like seeing me mop the floor? Kellie

A: Kelly, usually when they potty at night it's because they have too much room to roam in. She may need to be semi confined for the night time for a while. My Roxie has a large Great Dane kennel that she took for her own and when it's time for bed she goes into it herself....so I close the door at night time, but the rest of the time the door is open for her to come and go as she pleases.


Q: Can a potbellied pig be trained like a dog??? Meaning take him outside like a puppy every 2- hours?? I LOVE pigs & I really want one...Ive wanted a miniature potbellied pig for about 8 years now..but I don't have a house yet & I know my new husband & I are not in a lifestyle right now to be moving around with a Pig but I WILL have one someday & I'm just getting some knowledge first....what do they eat?? My name is Amber & my step daughter sent me this website knowing that I LOVE pigs...I have my whole bathroom in pigs....Anyway Thanks for your time & answering my questions. Sincerely, Amber

A: Hi Amber, yes they can be house broken just like a dog only better and easier. I have 6 in the house and they go out on a schedule that never changes. Once you take a baby outside to go that is where it prefers to do its business. The number one they will do in a litter box if one is provided for them as a baby but once they do a number two outside they will hold it till they get out to go.

They are not a pet for everyone and most breeders don't tell the down side of owning one. They are amazing creatures, very intelligent and they have reasoning power. They eat Purina mini pig chow for the most part and are extremely healthy most of the time. The size is what gets most people and is probably the number one reason that we have 71 unwanted ones here at the sanctuary now. There are NO HEALTHY pet pigs that weigh only 30 or 40 lbs. Average weight for the pots cross country is 80 to 150 lbs with most going over that.

When grown they have trouble doing steps and that's part of the problem. They can't be put into a small carrier and taken to the vet because of their size. Everyone loves a baby pig but that babyhood is short lived and they are not full grown until three years. Most areas in towns or cities are not zoned for them and that is the second most often reason they end up in a sanctuary. They are not legal to keep in most towns or cities and they lose their good home when animal control finds out they are there.

They are a unique and wonderful animal for those willing to make the commitment to them for the life of the pig (which is about 15 years). If you like to vacation or go away from home a lot they are not an animal for you. Its hard to find someone to take care of them and boarding kennels are seldom an option. They are creatures of habit and dislike change of any kind. Hope some of this helps.


Q: I have a question, I was given a pot belly pig. Truly cute. But the problem is, she sleep were she messes. The person I got her from kept her in a small area ( too small). So she slept, ate and messed in the same area. I know pigs are clean animal and that they learn quick. Trying to correct this problem. I have her in a larger area with her food and bedding in one area and her messing in another area. Yet she still sleeps where she messes. Like to house break her but I know I need to fix this problem first. Any suggestions? Alex

A: I only had one with this problem and he was soooo glad to get out of the ;mess that he learned in two days that he didn't have to live that way anymore. We put him on the back porch (air conditioned and all) and let him outside three or four times a day on a regular schedule....that took care of the problem. If your keeping her outside or in a stall area..let her out several times a day on a schedule. I think within three days your problems will be over. Also give her a bed of blankets....


Q: My baby pigs came from a pregnant pig that was running in the wild behind my house. My question is what goes in the litter box? They are smart and they use the box (I have dirt in it right now) Can I use litter?

A: Only if your there to watch and make sure they don't eat any. The clay litter packs in the tummy so if you use anything try not to use that....I prefer the pine shavings, shredded paper or plain dirt...the dirt also makes it easy to get them to go outside when the time comes.


Q: We have a 4 year old pot belly that was potty trained to a litter box. She was great and never had an accident. The litter box got to small for her so I threw it away and replaced it with a much larger one. Now she will not even go near it and she goes on the floor. How do we retrain her to go in the litter box. NEED HELP!!!!!! Thank You

A: Pigs are creatures of habit....you threw away the "habit" LOL. Usually at this age they cease to use a box anyway and prefer to go outside to go potty. We have ten house pigs in here and no litter boxes at all. They are all on a schedule of going out to do their business. If there is a reason she can't be let out to do her business than there are a few things that you can try that MIGHT encourage her to start going in a litter pan again.

Make sure that new pan is easy to get into and out of....height etc and make sure it isn't slick so she won't slide when getting in. Confine litter pan, sleeping blankets, feed and water bowls to a smaller area until using pan becomes a habit. Pigs don't like to go where they have to eat and sleep. Any mess she makes on the floor...use a paper towel and clean up and put in the box. Use paper towels to blot up urine and put in the box too for a couple of days. These pigs are so habit forming that it sometimes a problem.

We can't get pigs to go into new housing without locking them in for at least overnight. They would rather lay out in the cold than to give in to walking into a different shelter. Let me hear how it goes.


Q: My pig is now 9 weeks old. She eats about 3-4 small meals a day and I usually give her water at those times too, but she walks around and pees every 15 minutes, wherever she chooses. I take her outside and she goes. I am at my wits end with cleaning up the messes, my carpets smell horrible. Why can't she hold it long like a puppy?

The breeder has neutered male babies in her house and she says she has never heard of a pig peeing so much. Please help me with this. I don't want to have to put her outside.

A: First I would have her urine checked...if she is going that much you shouldn't have a problem catching some in a container to take in. Just ask them to check it for infection...and it wouldn't hurt to ask for a sugar count ...its a fairly cheap and easy test and any vet should be able to do it for you. If that comes back with just the ordinary bacteria and no major problems then I would have to assume it might be you.

Put this girl on a schedule and don't vary from it. Out first thing every morning again three or four hours later and so on throughout the day. She needs to know that at these certain hours she will be outside to go. They are creatures of habit. If she has no schedule than she never knows when the next time out might be and she goes when the mood hits.

She is still very young to expect her to be trained ..this is when your first just trying to train her. Usually once they poo outside they will try to hold that part till they are out again but its hard for a baby to hold their urine for long periods.

Also I would leave water down all the time! All animals need unlimited access to water all the time. She may be overdrinking at feed times to make up for not having water later on. But the scheduling is the most important part of the training ...later on as she gets older you slowly eliminate a couple of the in-between times so that she is going out morn. noon and late day. You didn't say if this girl has access to the yard on her own or not..that can make a difference too. Some pigs don't like to go when they are on a harness unless trained that way. Until she is predictable she needs to have her house space limited. Give her a small area and only allow her out after she has been outside and when your watching her like a hawk and just for a short period of time to play etc. Put her bed and stuff in that limited space. If she makes a mistake put her back out again.  We never give babies full run until later on when they can be trusted.


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Q: Hello, About a month ago, my wife and I bought an 8 week old potbelly. I hate to admit this but it was an impulse buy and we find ourselves unprepared for the intelligence of this animal. We've done a lot of work on our house but never once in my life did I ever think to piggy proof it...go figure!!

Committed to learning what I can, I'm trying to find what I can about proper training. We do keep him in the house and would like to continue to do so. He goes potty in the litter box like a good piggy and is a fun to watch play with the kids and cats... Not being a big fan of cats I get a certain amount of joy out of watching him knock my wife's cats down the pecking order of things.

Ok...My question is this. Although he's very good about his potty habits, he will find places here and there to have "accidents." He found a place in the kitchen and when we covered it with a throw rug he moved on to another place. He's on his 3rd new location and my wife is threatening me with bacon for breakfast. Please Help!!!!! Bob is the only other source of testosterone in this house and I need all the help I can get. Thank You Dennis

A: First question Dennis would be is the little guy neutered? He is still awful young to be done but should be done by a vet that knows potbellies when he is about 12 weeks. Please go to my website below and take the article on neutering from it for info before finding a vet. Not all vets have ISO Fluorine gas which is the only safe knock out for pots and some vets don't know that these guys can't be done the way farm pigs are due to the iginial ring inside which needs to be sewn up to prevent hernias.

That said we will move on to the potty problem. You are giving the little guy too much room to make mistakes. At that age we limit them to one room or less and just gradually increase their space as they grow and mature. Ours have a playpen that is their own space with the potty box and blankies for sleeping and they are out to play with supervision in that room only with the potty box next to their playpen.

We do put them back in their playpen often to take potty breaks and if you can catch him standing real still (which is what they do when they go) then put him in his box. I would like to ask where the little guy is sleeping? If he is sleeping in a large room loose or does he have a crate or playpen of his own. If its a small room like a wash room or bathroom that's OK too. Give me more info and I will give more suggestions. OK?


Q: Hello, we adopted Rex over Easter weekend, he was born March 8, 2004, he is now 53 pounds and we love him with all our hearts. He was litter trained by the time he was 5 days old, and we haven't had any problems with him until now.

There have been a lot of changes in the house as of late (which I do know can be very upsetting to a pig). The kids have gone back to school after summer break, new carpet has been put in, and his little box was moved because of it.

Well needless to say, Rex isn't too happy about all this change, so now he is peeing wherever he chooses. During the evening when we are home he is able to roam the house as he pleases, with the exception of a couple closed doors. We have a 4-level split home, his box was on the 3rd level in the family room until the new carpet came, then we moved the box down to the 4th level (laundry room, shop, kids playroom). Rex is put down in the 4th level at night and while we are at work/school, then gets let out as soon as someone is home - because of the new peeing issue.

We've spoke to our vet and he has made a suggestion or two. Get another litter box and put it back where it originally was. When we catch him peeing, get him over the either box as soon as possible. When he is finished peeing in his box, reward him with a treat. Eventually would should be able to eliminate the 2nd box.

Do you have any more thoughts or suggestions for our little buddy? Thank you, Anne

A: Anne, your right that's a lot of changes for a baby to get used to. That is your problem, but at his age my suggestion would be to get him outside for potty time ....not a box. We have ten pigs in the house but only one youngster at the moment and he is your pigs age. He goes outside to do his business off and on throughout the day. If you're gone during the day to work than you can still let him out to potty when you are home. My suggestion would be give him only one room until he comes around....a washroom etc...with his box and take him out as soon as you get home to potty. Once they go outside they don't like to go inside unless they just can't help it. These guys are creatures of habit and that is now all messed up as far as he is concerned. Start from scratch and retrain him giving him very little space with his box ....they don't like going where they have to live so that's the idea of a small space. But he is also of the age where he would prefer to go outside.



Q: We have a 4 year old pot belly that was potty trained to a litter box. She was great and never had an accident. The litter box got to small for her so I threw it away and replaced it with a much larger one. Now she will not even go near it and she goes on the floor. How do we retrain her to go in the litter box. NEED HELP!!! Thank You

A: Pigs are creatures of habit....you threw away the "habit" LOL. Usually at this age they cease to use a box anyway and prefer to go outside to go potty. We have ten house pigs in here and no litter boxes at all. They are all on a schedule of going out to do their business. If there is a reason she can't be let out to do her business than there are a few things that you can try that MIGHT encourage her to start going in a litter pan again.

Make sure that new pan is easy to get into and out of....height etc. and make sure it isn't slick so she won't slide when getting in. Confine litter pan, sleeping blankets, feed and water bowls to a smaller area until using pan becomes a habit. Pigs don't like to go where they have to eat and sleep. Any mess she makes on the floor...use a paper towel and clean up and put in the box. Use paper towels to blot up urine and put in the box too for a couple of days. These pigs are so habit forming that it's sometimes a problem. We can't get pigs to go into new housing without locking them in for at least overnight. They would rather lay out in the cold than to give in to walking into a different shelter. Let me hear how it goes.


Q: Hello, I am a new owner of this sweet little 12 week girl. And no she is not fixed, but I am looking into this also. I did have her trained and yes there has been changes in the household. First I had to get a bigger litter box, than I changed the brand of litter. Plus I finally found the right harness for her. So at this point I started to put her outside and she loves it. But when I bring her back in the house she is going to the bathroom every where.

So I cleaned all the carpets with vinegar & water "allot" and got her a playpen. I put the litter box and her blankets and bed in the playpen in my nice clean carpet bedroom. The first thing she does is relieve herself in her pen, every where but in her litter box. I just about dropped dead.

So here I sit in my sticky bedroom with the love of my life. Please help me. What do I use to wash the carpet out with. "smell" and now what do I do to get her back using the box. I saw in one of your letters to give her a treat after the use of the litter. I will try this too! At this point i will try anything. We all love Pork Chops so much and the rest of the barn animals {children & dogs & cats} Can you give me any advise? Thank you so much, Michelle McQuillan & Pork Chops

A: I can try to help!! LOL. Your girl is twelve weeks which means it's the start of the female cycle. They usually come in around three months which changes their habits sometimes.

First off I would have to say that she is probably too large for a playpen now and resents it. Your better off to confine her to one small room or space until her housebreaking is complete. We don't use litter boxes at all here and once they are walking well they start going outside to do their business which they much prefer to a litter box. (But then we have walk out doors without steps for them to use to go outside.)

What you might think about doing if it's possible, is to put her up a small safe pen outside the door so she can be put out often and only using the litter pan during the night. We never give a young pig full run of the house....it invites disaster. If your going to continue with the litter pan than put it in the confined space where she is going to be living for the next few months and only allow her out if you are watching and after she has either been outside or used the box. We have used the portable puppy pens and also blocked off a section of a room with whatever we can find that works. We have also resorted to building a cute small pen 4x5 ft that is two ft high...you can even decorate it with the lattice work stuff and make it cute but they go in there with bed and litter pan..food and water dish and that is their home until they can be trusted. 

We can do this cause there are always more coming that we can use it for so I don't know if you want to go to the trouble or not but most pigs become so attached to it that it remains their favorite sleeping place long after they are housebroke. It gives them a sense of security and we have some old ones still sleeping in their first enclosure. 

As for cleaning....the best we have found is OdoBan which can be found at most stores or get the pet cleaners that are used on carpets. Just to give you a laugh...we have 8  pigs in the house along with farm hands that don't wipe their feet so we just took up all the carpet!! 



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