What to Get for a New Pet Mini Pig

Once we put a deposit on our new pet mini pig, we had a week to get everything prepared for his arrival. This was a hectic week since I had no idea what a mini pig needed to be comfortable and happy. We went through some trial and error and bought a few wrong things before stumbling upon what worked best. Here is a list of the items we found most useful for starting out with Oscar.

1) Food and water bowls. Mini pigs like to flip their food and water bowls over. You can try training them to not do this, but it’s easier just to find bowls with the right shape and weight to make flipping difficult. Start with heavy, larger bowls that they can still drink and eat out of while young but that they can also grow into. Those tiny bowls at pet stores are cute and tempting, but they will be upside down in no time leaving you with a mess and needing to buy new bowls (I found this out the hard way). Even when mini pigs are young, their snouts are strong.

We ended up with these bowls from Target and took the bottom rubber part off since it was trapping water and spilling a bit. These aren’t perfect, but they are working better than others we tried.

Boots & Barkley Metal Striped Dog Bowl Small

Boots & Barkley™ Metal Striped Dog Bowl Small- Colors May Vary

2) Blankets. Mini pigs love blankets, so buy several. Since I knew they would get dirty at first, I searched for soft, large blankets on sale or clearance and made sure they were easily washable. Some of them have held up well and others, well, needed to be thrown out due to accidents. You can buy your piggy some nice blankets eventually, but I recommend starting out with some that you aren’t overly attached to.

3) Bed. I had a hard time deciding what type of bed to get little Oscar. I wanted it to be perfect, and I picked one with a cupped shape. The sides come up pretty high on it and, once he’s in, he sleeps comfortably. The problem with the bed is that his little legs can’t crawl into it. If we place him in, he’ll generally stay but he rarely manages to get in on his own.  After all of my searching for the perfect bed, he prefers the dog bed that’s low to the ground and easy to step onto. My recommendation is to find one that’s easy for the pig to get into and easy to wash. Frankly, Oscar prefers his big, fluffy Sherpa blanket to any of the beds, so you could go that route as well.

Update: We finally found a bed that Oscar loves, and I talk about why he loves it here.

Oscar Trying to Figure Out Cuddle Cup Bed 5.2015
Oscar having a hard time getting into his bed.

4) Crate. I love the crate we bought Oscar. His crate opens in the front and on the top which has been really helpful. When I take him places, I can keep him in the crate securely and open the top to pet him or let people see him if they ask. If I forget to put his favorite blanket in the crate at night, I can just open the top and put it in rather than opening the front and having to deal with a piggy trying to push his way out. It’s also easy to put together and clean.  We bought this Petmate Two Door Top Load Kennel.

5) Play Pen. This is probably my favorite purchase of the ones we made for Oscar. The play pen allowed us to keep Oscar contained (to avoid accidents, running amok, etc) while also being near the family. He has plenty of room to move around with a bed and some toys, and he can see out so he doesn’t feel alone (which limits the squealing a bit). The play pen is light which makes it easy to move from room to room; it also travels well which is great for taking Oscar to grandma’s house. From experience, cleaning it isn’t fun but works enough that I feel like it recovers well from accidents.

6) Litter Box and Puppy Pads. We initially planned on using a litter box, so we bought one along with some puppy pads. We ended up not using the litter box, but many pig parents do and find it’s a great potty training solution. We bought a ferret litter box which was recommended by other mini pig owners because it has a lower front side and is easier for a pig to step into. Also, we didn’t want to deal with cat litter (and the clumping kind can be dangerous for mini pigs because they like to eat everything…), so we bought some puppy pads to place inside the box.

7) Harness. I’m still working on finding the right harness for Oscar. We have tried both the step-in and the over-the-head kinds and cannot find a perfect fit. Most people recommend the step-in kind for pigs but we have had a few slip outs with those and are using the over-the-head kind for now. If you are looking for an over-the-head harness to try, we have had good luck so far with Top Paw dog harnesses from Petsmart.

Top Paw Dog Harness

With the use of some treats, Oscar is getting better about putting his harness on and taking it off, but it’s still a challenge. You will notice in pictures that our little boy mini pig has purple and pink harnesses; we have been using our dog, Rylee’s, old harnesses until we can find the best one for Oscar. My advice: find the kind that you and your mini pig are most comfortable with and go with that. Once Oscar is a little older and isn’t growing so quickly, I might invest in one of the harnesses made for mini pigs and see how that goes. Here is a video (featuring Oscar!) about how we learned to put a harness on our mini pig.

8) Cleaning Products for Accidents. I recommend having pet cleaning products at home when your mini pig arrives. It’s important to make sure the products you choose clean up the accidents completely, including any odors, so that your mini pig doesn’t have repeated accidents in the same spot. Here is a list of of the cleaning products we use for our mini pig’s accidents.

Those are the items we bought to get started with little Oscar. As he has grown, we’ve found other items helpful, such as treats, toys, and a bean bag chair; however, the items above should be sufficient for starting out with a mini pig. Since there aren’t a ton of items on the market made specifically for mini pigs, we had to try and adapt dog, cat, and other animal items to work. Different items may work better for your family and your mini pig. However, if you’re looking for some items to get started, these are ones that we have tested and worked for us and Oscar.

Note: Although I personally recommend the items discussed in this post, some of the links are affiliate links. LifeWithaMiniPig.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

23 thoughts on “What to Get for a New Pet Mini Pig”

  1. So I love your blog! We just got a mini pig named Olive! She is so sweet and smart. However we let her sleep in the play pen ( I got the same one that you got) and the urine smell is starting to go in the house. I use the same products you do but I don’t know what I am doing wrong. She is just a little over a month so I know she can’t hold her bladder and she is learning to go on doggy training pads, but any suggestions to get rid of the smell from the pen? Thanks!

    1. Hi Liz! Hope things are going well with Olive! I used to take the play pen outside every once in a while (roughly once a week) and really get it wet and scrub it down, especially in the areas where Oscar had peed. I used a wet cloth and just wet the play pen down and then sprayed the pet oxy stain remover spray all over and then scrubbed the play pen. I wiped it off and then sprayed the lavender disinfectant all over and let it air dry completely. We had to find a time when Oscar didn’t need to be in his play pen for a while since it took a while to dry, but that seemed to really keep the scent away. Of course, I always cleaned the play pen up when the accidents happened, but the more thorough cleaning seemed to really help keep it fresh. If I had less time but still wanted to do a thorough cleaning, I would unzip the bottom section of the play pen and then follow the same thorough cleaning I mentioned above and then just wiped the sides down as much as possible. I don’t remember having an issue with a lingering scent in the play pen, so hopefully that helps. Thanks for the compliment on the blog! 🙂

    1. Hi Mattie! Whether a mini pig is worth it will be different for each person. I love Oscar and find him very rewarding as a pet, but mini pigs are also really challenging pets. They are adorable of course, and they are funny and curious and entertaining which makes them great. Some of them are really cuddly, and that’s such a nice feeling. That being said, Oscar takes up a lot of my time and energy. To compare, Oscar is much more challenging to care for than my dog. He is more emotionally needy and simply requires more of my attention in order to be a good pet. If you and your grandma have the time to put into making a mini pig a good pet, you will probably enjoy being a pig parent. On the flip side, mini pigs who are left alone a lot or don’t get enough attention can become destructive, so it’s important to make sure you can keep them entertained and stimulated. I definitely don’t want to discourage you because I have had a positive experience with Oscar overall, but I do want to be honest about how challenging he has been and how much of my time and energy he requires. My main recommendation is to do a ton of research. Read as many articles as you can about mini pigs and really be honest with yourself about the day-to-day of living with a mini pig. I will list a few posts below from our site that I think will get you started. Pigs are amazing animals and can make wonderful pets, but it’s important to make sure you know what you’re getting when you decide to bring one home. Here are some posts that I think will help you in your decision.

      A Day in the Life of Mini Pig Oscar
      Mini Pig Pros: The Best Parts of Owning a Mini Pig
      Mini Pig Cons: The Tough Parts of Owning a Mini Pig
      Bonding With Your Mini Pig
      Times When I Wish I Didn’t Own a Mini Pig

  2. I am so so happy to have found your blog! We have put a deposit down on a mini pig and I needed to know so much! I’m completely used to raising puppies and kittens, but not yet pigs. So, I wanted you to know that you are helping me and I’m sure many others 🙂 So, thank you!!
    Oscar is so darn cute !!

    1. Thank you for letting me know the blog has been helpful! Raising a pig is definitely a different experience than raising puppies or kittens; it’s just fun and challenging in different ways. My favorite part of baby Oscar was just watching him learn about the world around him because he is endlessly curious. Having put your deposit down is such an exciting time! 🙂

    1. Hi Mandy! I’m not sure what the best thing is technically, but we just use regular baby shampoo and have been really happy with it so far.

      1. Oatmeal shampoo and coconut oil is what I use. My Lilly gets in shower with me and I have treats waiting. But I did see a video put water in tub and put Cheerios in the tub. Just a thought. I am learning so much lol

        1. That’s a good idea! Thanks for sharing what works for Lilly! I think baths are almost always tough with mini pigs at first, so it’s great to have a few different ideas to try. There’s so much learning as we go with mini pigs! 🙂

  3. Okay I have a 1 year old micro mini pig that is about 40 lbs. She is a mess and loves to tear up every bed I get her! I bought her a Kong brand bed because they were recommended to be the strongest bed…sorry Kong but not my little Libby lol. I was wondering if you have the same problem with your piggy. Also I use a small storage container with pine pellets for Libby to use as her litter pan. I believe that she thinks that it is not only used for her potty but as a toy as well because she roots all of the pine pellets out of her box and onto my floor. Those are the days that she does not get treats lol. She is spoiled rotten and I love her to death but I was just looking on some advice from one piggy parent to another. Thanks.

    1. Hi Meredith! Your comment gave me a bit of a laugh just because Libby sounds very creative! That being said, I’m sure it’s super frustrating when she tears up all of her beds and spreads her pine pellets all over the floor. That would be adorable once or twice and then get old pretty quickly…haha. It’s unfortunately really hard to train pigs out of these behaviors because they are so stubborn. We had a problem for a while with Oscar rooting on some new rugs we bought. He was rooting on them, biting them, and trying to tear up the fibers…constantly. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get him away from the rugs. I finally got frustrated and took him outside and let him root for as long as he wanted, and he came in so tired that he left the rugs alone for the rest of the day. When it’s nice outside, I give him at least 30-60 minutes outside in the mornings to root around, and then he’s usually super well behaved the rest of the day. My point is just that, rather than trying to get her to stop the specific behaviors, you might try wearing her out by making sure she has enough time to root or play with toys that stimulate her and get her energy out. It might not be possible every day, of course, but the more you can do that, I think the less you’ll see some of the more destructive behaviors.

      Rooting outside is the easiest because she’ll likely keep herself entertained with rooting since it’s so natural (I go out with Oscar to keep an eye on him and use that time to check things on my phone or respond to emails or something like that…), but you can also do it with food-dispensing toys and there are some on our Toys for Mini Pigs post (http://lifewithaminipig.com/toys-for-mini-pigs/) that she might like. But, I would give one of those things a try and see if it keeps her stimulated and worn down enough that she isn’t interested in tearing things up that you don’t want her to. Hope that helps!

  4. I am having an issue with my mini pig placing his blanket in his water bowl. I’ve even moved his water bowl and he still seems to find it to put his blanket in it. He also will put his blanket in his litter box.
    Any ideas as to what’s going on?

    1. Hi Chea! You’ve totally stumped me on this one! Oscar absolutely hates water, so he keeps away from water at all costs. A thought would initially be that maybe he’s trying to cool himself down, but that doesn’t seem very likely. Or, in that case, I could see him trying to get in the water rather than putting his blanket in there. Are his sleeping area, litter area, and drinking area far enough apart? Does he have enough to play with or is he doing this to entertain himself? Sorry I’m not much help on this one! I would love to hear from anyone else who’s dealt with this because I’m totally stumped on why he would put his blanket in his water dish and litter box.

      1. We have my mini, Homer, in our spare bathroom. It is a smaller area but we have everything spaced out. Meaning water and food on one side, his bathroom on the other. A small kennel to sleep in. We have a soccer ball in there and also a tub with rocks to root in. Maybe he is just a little silly. -Thanks!

        1. It sounds to me like everything is set up right and with things for him to play with. I like the theory that maybe he is just a little silly! It’s something you’ll look back and laugh about I’m sure. 🙂

  5. We just got our first little piggie, Mango, and she is so sweet! But she is very timid. It has been a month and she still squeals at times. What can we do to socialize her? We have followed all instructions, she has her own room but during the day the door is open. We spend time with her in her room and out. Maybe I am pushing it but I expected by now she would be further along. I am just wanting her to be comfortable and feel loved.

    1. Hi Ani! I would just keep at what you’re doing. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can, and it can just take them a long time to start trusting. Your experience is similar to what we went through with Oscar, and it’s all just a very gradual process. Hopefully you’ll start seeing more and more progress as time goes on, but it was probably several months before we felt Oscar was really getting comfortable at home. Hang in there! This can be a really frustrating time, but it gets better!

  6. Hi! I agree with everyone else this was SUPER helpful! The sad thing is I don’t have a mini pig of my own. I am trying to convince my parents to lets me get one but they wont budge. One of their biggest reasons is the smell. Do you have any foolproof product that I could show them and help convince them? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  7. I have 2 mini pigs, Barbie-Q and Pippy. They can be a handful at times but they are the highlight of my day every single day. As an experienced pig owner… Aside from all of the great info already provided… If u get one and plan to get another at a later time… Beware. We have had a heck of a time getting Barbie and Pippy used to each other. I have the wounds to prove it! Barbie is very territorial and jealous of her mommy and daddy. So we have to watch them close.Pippy is a rescue so she is much smaller than Barbie. Her original owners only fed her celery and carrots. This IS NOT healthy for them. It stunts their growth by compromising their skeletal system. Please read up on what to feed them! Thanks for the great info!

  8. This has been so useful! I’ve been assuming we will leave our mini in a kennel/ crate while we are at work, just like we do for our dog. Do you feel that will be okay, or will be pig be overly bored in the small space?

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