An issue I ran into soon after we brought Oscar home was keeping him entertained. He had plenty of energy but didn’t seem to know what to do with it. This led to him finding things to keep him busy, such as rooting around on any shoe he could find, bugging the dogs who didn’t feel like playing, and biting toes and then running off quickly. These things were cute at first, but I quickly realized we were going to encourage behavior issues if we didn’t find better options for him.
I have plenty of dog toys in the house from raising puppies, but I had no idea what types of toys mini pigs liked. I did some research and found that they like some dog toys and also infant toys, but I was warned that many pigs just don’t like toys. Oscar seemed playful enough, so I was determined to find some toys he liked.
I bought him a mix of dog and infant toys: puppy chews, stuffed toys, rope toys (since he seemed to love my shoelaces), and even infant teething rings. With each toy, he would play for a few minutes and then forget about it entirely. Even when we tried to play with him using the toy, we could get him to engage for a minute but then he switched back to rooting on our shoes.
For Oscar, only food-oriented toys worked long term. I wanted to get him toys that didn’t involve food to avoid the risk of overfeeding him, but nothing else worked. So, to hopefully save you some money from buying toys that your mini pig ignores, here are the ones that little Oscar loves.
1) IQ Treat Ball
It took a few minutes for Oscar to figure out what to do with the IQ Treat Ball, but he caught on quickly and loves it now. The size of the treat hole is adjustable, and the ball comes apart easily for washing after each use. We can put different size treats in it, but we frequently just feed him meals with the ball and let him roll the ball around with his nose until he has all of the pellets out.
2) StarMark Bob-A-Lot
Oscar got a Bob-A-Lot as a gift for his first birthday, and he loves it! The Bob-A-Lot is a heavier toy than the IQ Treat Ball, so I waited until Oscar was a little bigger before getting him one. I can fit his entire pellet meals in the Bob-A-Lot, which helps keep him busy and stimulated for up to an hour. I like to put Oscar in a carpeted room to minimize the noise from the Bob-A-Lot, and that works really well. Oscar loves the Bob-A-Lot, and I love that it keeps him busy and entertained. If you want to read more about our experience with the Bob-A-Lot, including its pros, cons, comparison with the IQ Treat Ball, and a video of Oscar using his Bob-A-Lot for the first time, check out our full post on it.
3) Puppy Kong
The puppy Kong is a good mini pig toy option if you put some food in it. I put a little bit of peanut butter inside the Kong and freeze it for a few hours or overnight before giving it to Oscar. When I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll cover the holes with peanut butter and put Oscar’s regular food pellets inside before freezing (the peanut butter on each end keeps the food from falling out) and use that for his meal time. It keeps him busy for a while and is a good toy option, but the downside is that I don’t always remember to prepare and freeze it in advance.
4) Ball Pit
I initially resisted making a ball pit for Oscar. I wasn’t sure what type of balls or container to use, and I thought it would be an eyesore in our house. I gave it a try because I was desperate to find something he would play with and I wanted to make sure he had a productive place to root.
I bought him a little plastic pool from Petsmart and some ball pit balls from a major toy store which worked out well. When we put him in the ball pit for the first time, he panicked and hated it. We figured out that the slick plastic on the bottom of the pool was scary for him and that we shouldn’t have started out with all 100 balls; it was too overwhelming for him. We took the balls out, placed a blanket on top of the plastic pool and added in just a few balls and some treats. That worked much better, and he has grown to love his ball pit so much that we feed him entire meals in it most days. If you’re hesitant about the ball pit, give it a try. It costs a little more than a toy, but I wish I would have just started with the ball pit rather than buying a bunch of other toys that he didn’t like.
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