There are various health risks for pot bellied pigs associated with summer weather and activities. Pigs in urban or suburban areas are especially at risk because they are exposed to some dangers that they may not normally encounter in a more rural setting. In addition, city pigs may not have easy access to a pet hospital with the facilities to treat them or easy transport to get them to a medical facility. This means that owners of city pigs must be extra vigilant in protecting their porcine charges during thew summer season. To keep your pigs safe, review the following information.
Heat and Humidity
Pot bellied pigs, as well as other types of pigs, lack sweat glands to lower their body temperature to a sustainable level in the summer heat, so a pig must be provided with access to water in order to keep cool.
A child's hard plastic wading pool will suffice, as long as the pigs can access it. Their legs are short and their bellies large, so they may need to be convinced to enter the pool initially. Throwing an apple, or some other insoluble snack, into the pool will usually do the trick.
However, you should be forewarned that some pigs tend to urinate and defecate in copious amounts upon entering water, which results in an unpleasant smelly mess that must be emptied and cleaned after a hot summer day.
If your pig doesn't have access to water, they should remain inside with air conditioning during the hotter parts of the day.
Pot bellied pigs, especially those with a white coat and pink skin, are very susceptible to sunburn, particularly on their ears, snouts, and backs. They must have access to shade, so their pool must also be placed in a shaded area.
You must also consider the temperature of a sidewalk or asphalt surface if you take your pig for a walk or allow access to a paved surface on hot days. Their feet can suffer severe burns if they walk on extremely hot surfaces.
Ingestion of poisons
Pot bellied pigs will eat nearly anything that is remotely edible, so pigs must be kept out of your garden. The list of plants that are poisonous to pigs is incredibly long, with many plants that are common in the average garden. Fertilizers and even mulch eaten in excess can result in a trip to a pet hospital.
Rodent poisons are a special issue, because the pig doesn't need to have direct access to rodent poison. Rats can eat poison and crawl onto your property to die, and your pig will have no problem with eating the carcasses. If your pig suddenly doesn't want to eat and seems extremely lethargic, with possible drooling, you must get them to a pet hospital as soon as possible, because these are possible symptoms of ingestion of poisoned rats.
Another poison to be aware of is automobile coolant. Coolant runs out of the overflow tank of vehicles and onto driveways and streets on hot summer days, leaving a sweet tasting liquid for your pig. The ethylene glycol in the coolant is toxic in sufficient quantities, so keep a careful eye on your pig if you take it for a walk or allow it access to your driveway or public streets.
Pot bellied pigs are a challenge to keep safe during the summer season, but they make up for it with the playfulness, intelligence, and affection that they provide in abundance. For more tips on keeping your pig safe, or if you're concerned for their health, contact a local pet hospital.