Vietnamese Pigs: Our 10 basic tips Comment (13)


When adopting a Vietnamese pig as a companion animal, care must be taken and educated from the start.

Having a Vietnamese pig as a pet began to gain popularity in the 80s but only in the United States although has been spreading Half the world They are animals of the most curious, playful and affectionate ideal for children. They can become potentially intelligent animals if they are properly educated, and also do not need much specific care so they are perfect to have as animal companion although a priori it may sound a bit weird.

It is possible to know that they are exotic and non-domestic animals, that is to say, it is not like having a dog or a cat, but they adapt easily to the environments and being so affectionate if they are given a lot of love they can become man's best friend. Attention and patience are the key elements to properly educate a Vietnamese pig. They do not like to be alone and they like to move to inspect the land so it is advisable for the quality of life of the animal that if the decision is made to have a Vietnamese pig as a pet, have a good ground where you feel most comfortable .

It is also good to know that they do not like anything that they turn around and have their legs up because they feel insecure and vulnerable. If this happens they will make noise or scream to show that they don't like that position at all. They are so intelligent that each sound they emit is to express a different lack. If in the end the decision is made to adopt a vietnamese pig You should know that it is the dwarf breed of all pigs, since they measure about 40 and 50 centimeters and usually weigh between 35 and 60 kilos.

Ways to educate the pig

First of all, you feel when you reach your new home Much love and affection and that your resting area is appropriate and away from the feeder and where you realize your needs since it is an animal of the most organized and clean. If taken into account he will show a docile attitude so it will be much easier to educate him. If you have more than one Vietnamese pig, as expected, everyone has to have their own bed.

A second step for the education of the pet is to teach him to do his needs in the sandbox. The box must be less deep than a cat would be placed, so that the pig can enter and exit easily. They usually adapt quite quickly to this action, but if they sometimes defecate outside, the stool should be placed in the sandbox so that it becomes familiar with the place. If you do it correctly, reward you, even tell you nice and positive things just like you would do with another pet like dogs or cats.

The vietnamese pigs they develop playing, both their intelligence and their education. If a pig does not receive the necessary attention, it could behave badly, so attention is a most important factor for these animals to learn quickly. You can buy rubber toys to throw them and bring them like a dog would, because the Vietnamese pig will do it too. One of the toys that these animals like best is the puzzles. It is a toy where you have a prize inside or a bauble and they will try to reach it.

Every time you want to teach something to a vietnamese pig you have to reward him with food, since it is a good way for him to do it at the first time. You have to be careful with the pantries or where the animal can easily access places where they house food since it is one of the things they like best: eat at all hours.

In short, to vietnamese pigs He can be educated exactly like a dog because he will respond in the same way. If you are going to be in contact with children, you have to explain that even if it is an animal that will live at home, it is not a dog and that they do not like certain things. Of course not to be thrown from the tail as they could harm him unconsciously. A routine of basic exercises on how to sit, where to sleep you have to spend about 15 minutes a day so that don't get too tired since they are too stubborn and could be stressed very easily.

Food and care

Vietnamese pigs are They are omnivorous so they can eat everything, but it is recommended that they have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Do not give specific feed for pigs because they are designed to fatten and raise them so that is not what we want for our pet. When it comes to fulfilling their needs, there is no problem because, far from the myths that stir among their own feces, Vietnamese pigs can easily meet their needs in a cat litter. They are animals that do not sweat because they don't have hair they won't give off bad smells.

If your food and the sandbox they are wax Even your bed will not sleep because they are very clean animals and like to separate their areas well. They are animals that can't stand cold or heat, that is, they need to have a regulated temperature in the home. They love to take long walks as if it were a dog, and if they are educated since they are small they will adapt knowledge of the most intelligent that will pleasantly surprise. Do not lose sight of them because they like to be accompanied and play, they are very active animals so they will ask for love at all hours. Every 4 months or so It is advisable to take it to the veterinarian to keep track of your vaccines and have a general check to know that everything is in order.

2.- No stress

The pig will never be able to adapt if he is treated abruptly or lacks the patience and ability to teach necessary to have a pet at home, which at the beginning is also especially scared. You need to be in a balanced moment and have a patient owner, calm and with ability to command.

3.- Rigorous discipline

The Vietnamese pig is extremely intelligent, much more than at first we can believe. That is why we must also be very rigorous in their teaching, to prevent it from becoming a tyrannical and spoiled animal, since the tendency is to give in to its sympathetic appearance before thinking that they need discipline like any other companion animal.

4.- Need for affection

Its great sensitivity also requires great dose of affection, which we will transmit in the form of caresses, first carefully, and then as a demonstration of the affection we feel for our pet. Let's discover its weak points, where they like to be scratched, and they will become affectionate animals and grateful to be loved.

5.- Beat the fear

These first days are vital in education of the little pig. Of our patience and our constancy, that we know instill confidence With the right guidelines, the character and adaptation of our piglet depends to a large extent. The sooner he manages to overcome his fear of contact, the sooner he will be integrated into the new family.

6.- Need for company

The Vietnamese pig is an animal that need to feel integrated In a social group. It does not mean that he cannot be alone for a while at home, but will seek to be part of the family. If we provide one, ours, it will be fully integrated. If you do not maintain contact with anyone, you will become a sullen animal and not suitable as a pet.

Keys to offer you a professional service in the clinic

Chema López Cerezuela
Clinical veterinarian
Images courtesy of the author

We will refer throughout the article to the “pequeГ ± as” varieties of the domestic pig (Your domestic scrofa), Vietnamese pigs and minipigs. The minipigs come from lines used in experimentation. There are different varieties and they would be the reduced version of a domestic pig “normal”, but with weights between 35 and 80 kg. Vietnamese pigs come from Asia and were initially introduced in the United States. There are several colors but the most common is black. Although the weight should not exceed 35-50 kg, it is quite easy to see animals of 70-90 kg or more, because there is no good control of breeders.

In shops it is possible to get really small pigs, less than 15-20 kg, although many animals of these weights have developmental alterations and poor bone conformation.

If a client asks us for information about a Vietnamese pig, which will not exceed 30 kg, it must be said that it is quite easy for it to become a compact and rectangular mole 50 cm high x 1 meter long and about 90 kg, which It becomes a pet that, if proper precautions are not taken, can be quite unmanageable in a normal domestic environment (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Vietnamese male adult castrated pig of approximately 90 kg.

It is important to note that these pets in some autonomous communities are considered companion animals and in other farm animals, regulated by the Agriculture Councils, and need specific sanitary controls of official veterinarians and not by private clinicians. In practice, the official veterinary authorities do not know what to do with these animals and “ do as they do not exist”.

The forms that offer doses of drugs refer to the literature of the 90s, when these animals became fashionable for a few years, and since then the publication of medical data on them has been very scarce. There are many gaps in the application of modern drugs in the Vietnamese pig and the clinician has to make extrapolations of other species and the farm pig.

Feed from farm pig, dog, cat or human food are very energetic diets and quickly lead to almost irreversible obesity. Although they are omnivorous, it is better that your diet be strictly herbivorous, based on fresh vegetables high in fiber and hay. ad libitum, fruit 2 or 3 times a week and use the most palatable foods (corn, cookies, breakfast cereals, seeds.) only as a reward. Salty, sweet, chocolate and dairy foods should be avoided. It can be complemented with pellets Not medicated for horses.

There are a few brands that manufacture feed adapted to Vietnamese pigs.

Only they should be kept in houses with outdoor land and a shelter to protect from direct sun, you can use a padded doghouse with a thick layer of insulating and comfortable material such as shavings and blankets. They need water always available, they usually dump the drinkers.

If they are kept indoors they are very clean and usually defecate and urinate on trays (usually with previous training) or at least in clean areas, without odors and away from food.

Very intelligent and with an extraordinary ability to express emotions (the owners say that their pig is sad, scared, happy, happy, cries.). In the right circumstances they are very attached pets to their owner, they are very easy to train and in theory they could be good companion animals, as long as their ethological needs are met. The problem is that this, in practice, is very difficult to achieve.

Hozar's behavior is natural and impossible to control, and they make huge holes in gardens and orchards. With their snout they move and destroy almost everything around them, so they can be very destructive in a house, so they should not be kept on floors. They usually vocalize (shrieks to request food, games, contact.) Quite often so that the protests of the neighbors are common.

They are dominant and territorial: with the people at home they are friendly and receptive, with visitors they are often very suspicious and can bite.

Pigs establish a hierarchy from birth, as they grow they will continue to struggle to maintain a hierarchical status with their owners since they are pack animals, because of this, they can intimidate their owners if they have failed to control or direct the natural dominant behavior . When the pig tries to control the owner, it recoils for fear of its size and strength, thereby reinforcing unwanted behavior. It should not be physically punished, this system is not effective and worsens the character of the animal by causing fear.

They are excellent handlers and get almost anything from the owners. One of the errors of interpretation of the pig language by the owners is to “rascar the belly when the pig is laid down: doing this reinforces the submissive character of the owner and the dominant character of the pig (figure 2).

Figure 2. Classic dominant-submissive behavior.

The effect of hormones can be important in non-neutered males and females in heat, and it manifests itself in the form of aggressiveness and bites, although there is great individual variability.

All pet pigs should be trained using "positive reinforcement techniques" to reinforce ownership of the owner. The technique of “nada in life is free” is easy to carry out using the clicker.

No matter the type of exercise or the amount of tricks that the pig knows, the important thing is that you perform the exercise many times and from a very young age so that you can acquire strict discipline rules. Before starting the exercises you have to get used to the use of the harness, this tool is also the only way to walk it and sometimes to drag it away when you do not want to do something (let yourself be brushed, bathed, washed or washed). In any case, on walks with both harness and without it, the route is always determined by the pig.

Without excellent, early and intense training, the majority will end up in a pen or garden without the possibility of interacting with their owners, except to receive their daily dose of food.

The following are therapeutic and preventive options that may be presented to the owner.

Many of the medications that are going to be used are not registered for pigs so the owner should sign an informed consent.

Once you are sedated or anesthetized, take the opportunity to do as much as possible of the things left by the owner.

  • Vaccination: start after 8 weeks with vaccination against Clostridium sp. and Aujesky. Vaccines of Mycoplasma, Actinobacillus, Erysipelas Y Leptospira I do not consider them necessary in isolated pets, and Aujesky only because it is mandatory in farm pigs.
  • Castration (male) with 3 months.
  • Fang extraction (male), usually together with castration (figure 3).
  • Ovariohysterectomy with 4-6 months.
  • Internal deworming: every 1-3 months: fenbendazole, sela / iver / dora / moxidectin.
  • External deworming: sprays for horses or birds or sela / iver / dora / moxidectin.
  • Clippings and arrangements of hooves (cracked, elongated, uneven, or overgrowth pads). Alterations in the hooves are risk factors for lameness (figure 4).
  • Examination and cleaning of ears: there is usually a large amount of black and greasy secretion.
  • Trimming fangs to the base of the gum (fang extraction in adults is not recommended due to risk of mandibular fracture) (figure 3).
  • Eye cleaning: scabs, secretions, mucus
  • Education classes to minimize behavioral problems. A “medical training” to get them into the car, ear manipulation and injection area is also a useful recommendation that some owner could try.
  • Full veterinary exam every 6-8 months.
  • Coprological analysis every 6-10 months, the sample will be given to us by the patient usually after taking the temperature.
Figure 4. Alterations in the hooves are risk factors for lamenesses.

To supply oral medication it is recommended to dilute the tablets and mix with gelatin, peanut butter, pastry syrups, wet bread, injected into a grape, etc. They are experts in detecting medications so you have to change the trick every few days.

  • Coccidia: toltrazuril.
  • Ticks, Sarcoptes scabiei, Otodectes cynotis: moxi / iver / sela / doramectin. (figures 5 Y 7).
  • NemòЎtodos: flubendazol, fenbendazol, moxi / doramectina.
  • Orphaned piglets (they cannot regulate their temperature the first two weeks of life): keep at 34-35ВєC and feed with commercial colostrum.
  • Hypoglycemia and anemia (rare) in newborn piglets: glucose 20% IP, iron dextran 50-150 mg / piglet x 1 dose.
  • Dry skin with scales, dermatitis Staphylococcus hyicus, dermatitis of the folds of the face, erythema multiforme: chlorhexidine, amoxicillin-clavulanic, cephalexin, enro / marbofloxacin, dermatological shampoos for use in dog-cat.
  • Normal otitis that become chronic because of the high difficulty of cleaning and treating the ears at home: treat like a dog.
  • “Respiratory disease” (Mycoplasma and others): ceftiofur, tylosin, florfenicol, tulatromycin. , penicillin / strepto / dexa / chlorphenidramine combinations work quite well in very mild cases.
  • Obesity: if the animal has tarsus and carpus with fat folds and huge wrinkles, there is an obvious excess of weight and then the diet has to be rationed and the fiber increased. Add NSAIDs (against secondary osteoarthritis) and glucosamine-
  • Deformations in hooves and lameness: trim and administer NSAIDs (carprofen, meloxicam, aspirin, ketoprofen). Tramadol (3-5 mg / kg) sometimes works as a reinforcement of NSAIDs.
  • Sunburn: dermatological shampoos, aloe vera, rosehip and assess antibiotic therapy.
  • Entropion and chronic ocular secretion.
  • Behavioral problems: aggressiveness (bites, chases visitors), furniture damage, excessive vocalizations.
  • Abandonments and changes of owner for not being able to attend.
Figure 5 Sarcoptes scabiei In young Vietnamese pig.

Basic medical techniques in consultation

Almost no patient will be manipulated if it is not with an edible prize in front (I think, cat malt.) (figure 6). Towels on the examination table will prevent the piglets from slipping, dim the ambient light and never lift them leaving the limbs in the air. It is better to hug them so that they feel safe, from a few kilos of weight they will be much quieter on the ground.

Figure 6. Almost no patient will be allowed to manipulate if it is not with an edible prize in front.

The first visits to the clinic have to be as stressless as possible, a bad experience due to improper handling will never enter life in the consultation. Any manipulation will cause the emission of sounds from soft snoring to screams and shrieks, which rarely causes panic in the canine patients of the waiting room and confusion, fear and curiosity in their owners.

Figure 7 Staphylococcus hyicus in minipig.

Subcutaneous: on the wrinkles of the limbs. Very little useful.

Intramuscular: needles of more than 3 cm and at least 18G or 20 / 18G moths. It is injected just behind the base of the ear, first the needle and then the syringe is connected. It is very normal for them to bleed later. While injecting, distract him with some food or talk to him or scratch his rump or abdomen.

Intravenous / catheter placement: It is almost impossible to get a good blood sample from an awake Vietnamese pig. Under anesthesia the lateral and medial atrial vein can be tested (only for small samples), cephalic (prior dissection for catheter), caudal, lateral saphenous (first test here), femoral, subcutaneous abdominal, ophthalmic venous sinus (dangerous ) and in very young cranial cava.

Intraperitoneal or intraosseous: in young animals or as a last resort.

Necessary for almost any procedure due to no patient cooperation.

  • Fasting 6-8 hours minimum.
  • The previous 3 days do not eat feed or carbohydrates, only fiber, hay and vegetables.
  • Leave the patient alone and isolated for at least 10 minutes after premedication.
  • Recent tetanus vaccine.
  • Monitor hyperthermia in transport.

1. Sedation for transport

  • Acromaromazine (ACP) 0.18-0.23 mg / kg i.m. (oral almost has no effect).
  • Azaperone (2-4 mg / kg i.m. female, 1-2 mg / kg male).
  • Midazolam (nasal / i.m. At 0.5 mg / kg): less effective than the previous ones.

2. Premedication

ACP / azaperone + meloxicam (0.4 mg / kg) / carprofen (4 mg / kg) + atropine (0.02 mg / kg)

3. Injectable anesthesia

- Intravenous protocols: Propofol, etomidate, ketamine + thiopental + fentanyl. They require an easy vein to catheterize so it is not usually used except in complex and long surgeries.

  • Ketamine + Xylazine + Butorphanol
  • Ketamine + medetomidine / dexmedetomidine + butorphanol
  • Medetomidine + butorphanol + midazolam
  • Tiletamine and zolacepen + medetomidine

The anesthetic maintenance is done with iso / sevoflurane in mask (short or very safe procedures) or intubated. It is quite difficult to intubate due to the anatomical characteristics of the larynx and that is why it is essential to use lidocane and a laryngoscope with a long blade, in addition to a metal fastener as a guide to introduce the tube. The loss of the mandibular tone, ventral rotation of the eye and the prolapse of the third eyelid allow for intubation. In an anesthetic plane, the palpebral reflex is lost and the corneal is maintained. It is important to monitor hyperthermia. Inject metoclopramide (0.5 mg / kg i.m.) at the end of anesthesia.

In the hours following anesthesia there may be a slowing of the digestive transit, so the production of feces and anorexia must be controlled. If you do not defecate, you can help with lactulose, liquid paraffin and fiber.

Hard, not impossible

In summary, the Vietnamese pig is a difficult-to-handle pet at home and very difficult to handle in the clinic, with many limitations when it comes to testing and using clinical techniques. It is really complicated to treat it with many diseases because of the impossibility of medicating it correctly, it is often classified as recommended as a companion animal, but with a lot of patience and great interest on the part of the owner, it is possible that it becomes In a good pet.

9.- Different sounds

We will be very surprised when, once integrated into our home, we discover the different sounds of "language" of the Vietnamese pig. A greeting, a request, a thank you, a being at ease, a being angry. Everything will be transmitted with different sounds, which will give us an exact idea of ​​the mood of our pet.

10.- Own personality

The pigs that get used to being in family from young people will undoubtedly become integrated without problems, but we must keep in mind that each one has his own personality. That are stubborn, affectionate, nervous, obedient. It depends on both your teaching and your own character.

If you want to know in depth everything you need to take good care of a vietnamese pig, we recommend the publication Vietnamese Pigs: Healthy and Happy of the European Hispanic Publishing House:

Latest Comments on this article (13)

By pablosky2 on 04/30/2014 at 01: 57h

By sento76 on 01/30/2014 at 09: 55h

Hello, you will see where I live there is a pine forest and they have abandoned a Vietnamese pig for about a week and quite a small puppy. The fact is that I have decided to take it to find a shelter.
but as you said it is quite elusive,
Although I have not even approached directly, could you give me some advice for it and how to treat it so as not to generate stress when you take it and when do I give it to someone?

By taniachule on 05/21/2013 at 5:27 p.m.

Hello, I just acquired a Vietnamese pig, it is 3 months old and I have 4 days with it. He eats very well, the problem is that during the week he stays alone for a while because we go to work and when we return and we want to approach he behaves a bit of a hurry and even a bit aggressive, after a while she alone approaches and looks for us but does not It allows us to caress it while eating, we have also tried to put a leash to get it out, but it gets angry and screams very ugly, any advice? I hope you can give me some tips.

By mariajose66 on 03/09/2013 at 02: 32h

I have been given a five-week Vietnamese pig, I don't want milk anymore and there is no way I can eat it, I put rice, muffins, cookies, fruit, I think of my dogs' puppy, and nothing, it's getting thin and I don't know what do. If someone can guide me I would appreciate it

By nogo on 07/31/2012 at 20: 11h

Hello friends I have a pig that is adapted to the family nucleus behaves great and is very affectionate she is 7 months old and with the family 5 years ago. but I have a big problem afraid of the stairs and for that reason I can not take it to the street since I live in a first and she fears him. I've tried everything feeding him with caresses. with everything. but it is impossible she does not want. What he does when he sees that this very bristle is allowed to slide with the hind legs to move away. And I don't know what to try, I hope for some help. thank you