Oscar loves getting treats, and there are so many good mini pig treat options. I really enjoy coming up with new treat ideas for Oscar and letting him try new things. Unlike for dogs, there are very few packaged treats for mini pigs, but the fun part is that pigs can eat many of the things we do. Since pigs can easily overeat, I try to pick healthier options and avoid things that are salty, sugary, and fatty; otherwise, I aim for variety.
If your mini pig is young and just starting out with treats, I highly recommend starting with vegetables and then introducing fruit or more sugary treats later. Doing this increases the chance that they will enjoy veggies and consider them treats, making it much easier to get them eating healthy snacks.
Here are some of Oscar’s favorite treats:
1) Cheerios. These are a popular choice for any mini pig. Oscar loves Cheerios, and they make for an easy treat since they are small, dry, and portable. If I’m training with Cheerios, I will sometimes break them in half so that I can get more training in with fewer treats. I don’t consider them as healthy as vegetables for our little guy, but they are extremely handy and Oscar seems to work harder for Cheerios than for vegetables. Cheerios are Oscar’s favorite treat so far.
2) Freeze Dried Peas. I was wandering around in the grocery store one day and found bags of freeze dried vegetables and fruits that work great for mini pig treats. The ones we use are Just Tomatoes Just Peas, and they have nothing added such as salt or sugar that would be unhealthy for Oscar. Similar to Cheerios, they are small and dry (as opposed to canned peas) and are super easy to give as treats. Oscar really likes these, and I don’t feel guilty giving these to him. The brand has tons of other options, and I’m excited to see which others Oscar likes.
3) Banana Chips. Oscar loves banana chips because they are crunchy and sweet. I enjoy giving Oscar bananas, but I prefer the chips because whole bananas are too much food for him all at once and don’t keep well for later. I also tried slicing and freezing bananas, but they stick together which is frustrating.
I looked for a long time for banana chips without any added salt or sugar, and I finally found these Naturally Bare Baked Crunchy Simply Banana Snacks (make sure to get the Simply Banana ones or check the ingredients on any other kinds before buying). The only ingredient in the Simply Bananas kind is bananas, so I bought them and am happy I did. Oscar loves them, and I don’t have to worry about the added ingredients. Below are the kind I bought Oscar; you can get any kind of banana chips but make sure to check the ingredients list first. Salt is toxic to pigs, and extra sugars aren’t healthy for them. Like any fruit, I save these for special treats because of the natural sugar content, but these are so handy and quick and easy for mini pig treats.
Here is a video of Oscar enjoying his Simply Banana snacks.
4) Baby Carrots. We occasionally give Oscar a whole baby carrot for a fun snack, but usually I slice them up and give him smaller pieces for training. He likes carrots but I’ve found he loses attention faster in training if I use only carrots, so I mix them up with other treats he gets more excited about. Sliced veggies are great options for mini pig treats, but Oscar is smart and won’t be fooled by me sneaking him healthier options!
5) Kale. When my husband and I are making dinner salads, we will sometimes set aside a small salad for Oscar. Torn up pieces of kale make for great treats, and small salads with greens, carrots, and other veggies make for a healthy mid-day snack. If we’re feeling generous, we’ll throw some grass in for him, but then we have to remember which salad is his and which is ours!
6) Popcorn. We use air-popped popcorn as a special treat for Oscar. It’s not something we give him every day, but he really likes popcorn and it’s fun to watch him enjoy it. We put popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag and put it in the microwave on the popcorn setting. It’s salt, butter, and oil free and so easy to make and set aside for mini pig treats.
7) Grass. Oscar loves eating grass! Since he’s going to eat it anyway, we sometimes grab a handful of grass and use it for a treat. When Oscar is outside and we need him to come in, giving him a handful of grass to bring in the house with him speeds up that process and makes for a happier pig. Also, when our nieces and nephews visit, we give the kids a blade of grass to feed Oscar. This helps Oscar get used to the kids and lets the kids feed him without getting their fingers too close to his chompers. It’s also the cheapest treat we give him!
8) Peanut Butter. We rarely give Oscar peanut butter due to the higher fat and calorie content, but he loves it! I put some peanut butter in a Kong toy and keep it in the freezer for when Oscar is being really good or when I am desperate to keep him entertained for a while.
9) Fruit. We give Oscar fruit less frequently than vegetables due to the higher sugar content, but he loves all kinds of fruit. We mainly give him bananas, blueberries, and peaches since we buy those regularly, but it’s also fun to give him different in-season fruits throughout the year. I usually chop the piece of fruit into small pieces and put them in the freezer; that way we have little pieces of fruit on hand for special treats. Of course, make sure you remove any seeds or pits from fruit. Mini pigs can grab seeds and pits in the blink of any eye, so it’s important to remove them before giving any fruit to your pet.