When we moved to the country last year, we were excited to plant our first garden. In the past, we planted a few things here or there but didn’t really have the space we needed. So, over the summer, we finally planted our first real garden.
Next was the fun part; we needed to pick what we wanted to grow! We went back and forth on some options, but we made our final decision based on which foods Oscar could enjoy with us. We avoided any foods that might be harmful for him and chose ones we thought he would love. After a lot of deliberation, we finally picked kale, arugula, and kaleidoscope carrots.
My husband built the garden, we planted the seeds, and then I impatiently waited for everything to grow. As it turns out, I love the idea of gardening but not actual gardening, so thank goodness for my husband who kept up with watering, weeding, and harvesting the garden!
We used the kale in salads for Oscar, which he enjoyed as expected. He wasn’t as excited about the arugula, but what we were most excited for him to try were the kaleidoscope carrots. We regularly give Oscar baby carrots from the store as treats, but he had never tried any from the garden, particularly not a white or purple carrot.
We washed one of the white carrots, cut a few little slices for him, and eagerly watched as he tried it. Here is the video of Oscar trying his first white carrot from the garden.
He didn’t like the white carrot at all! Oscar is one of those pigs who loves just about every food. In fact, in almost a year and half, we haven’t found a food that Oscar refuses to eat…until the white carrot. After trying it myself though, I can’t really blame him. It was extremely bitter, without even a hint of sweetness. He normally loves carrots, but he and I both stuck with the orange carrots after trying the white one.
In retrospect, Oscar didn’t seem as excited about any of the garden foods as we thought he would be. My best guess is that everything was a tad bitter compared to what he’s used to from the store. While the garden foods were super fresh, he didn’t seem to care for the extra bitterness.
I was a little bummed Oscar didn’t love the garden food, but we’ll just try again next year and see if we can find some that he likes more. Choosing foods that Oscar could eat made the entire garden experience more fun; it was exciting knowing he could be part of the experience and try the harvest with us. Maybe we’ll have more luck next year!
It’s Rylee’s 11th birthday! We started off Rylee’s birthday with a long walk, followed by a nap, and then we kicked off her real celebration. I wanted something special to celebrate Rylee today, so she got to eat some frozen yogurt and a birthday cookie. I stumbled upon some frozen yogurt made for dogs that both Rylee and Oscar could eat, and I was really excited to let them try it. It’s The Bear & The Rat’s Banana Peanut Barker frozen yogurt, and both Rylee and Oscar loved it!
Overall, the celebration was a success! Here is a video and some pictures below to recap Rylee’s big day. Oscar was super sneaky and managed to steal Rylee’s birthday cookie at one point in the video but, don’t worry, I saved an extra for her to make up for it.
Happy 11th Birthday to my very first dog. You have been with me through so many changes, and I am forever grateful for your constant, trusting love. Happy Birthday, Rylee!
Oscar has a new favorite toy, the StarMark Bob-A-Lot! Oscar received a Bob-A-Lot as a gift for his first birthday, and he loves it. Oscar will only play with food-dispensing toys, so I’ve had to be selective with the toys that I buy him. When he was little, I bought him all kinds of dog and infant toys hoping one of them would spark his interest, but nothing ever did. If it doesn’t dispense food or treats, Oscar isn’t interested.
Watch as Oscar plays with his Bob-A-Lot for the first time. (I shot this video over a month ago. I wanted a video of Oscar using his Bob-A-Lot for the first time but also wanted him to use his new toy for a while before writing about our experience with it.)
I first discovered that Oscar loves food-dispensing toys when he was a baby, after buying him the IQ Treat Ball. As soon as he figured out that he could nudge the ball around to get food, he went crazy for it. Some days I put entire meals in his treat ball and other days I just put treats in. So far, the treat ball has been Oscar’s favorite toy, and I love that it keeps him busy and stimulated for a while.
I had been eyeing the StarMark Bob-A-Lot for several months because I thought Oscar might like it, but I held off initially due to its large size. The Bob-A-Lot is a much heavier and bulkier toy than the IQ Treat Ball, and I was afraid little Oscar would hurt his snout playing with it. As Oscar’s first birthday approached, I decided he was big enough to give the Bob-A-Lot a try. I’m so glad I got it for him because he loves it!
Now that Oscar has been using the Bob-A-Lot for over a month, here are some observations I’ve made about it.
Pros of the Bob-A-Lot: The biggest pro of the Bob-A-Lot is that Oscar loves it. Although that sounds like an obvious pro, it’s huge for us. There are very few toys that keep Oscar’s attention, and the Bob-A-Lot can keep him entertained for up to an hour. Since it’s a relatively large toy, I can fit Oscar’s entire pellet meal in it which is why it keeps him busy for so long. I put about half of his meal in the larger bottom area of the toy and the rest in the top neck portion, and I love that I can fit so many pellets in there at once. Also, the size of the holes in the Bob-A-Lot are adjustable, so I can make it really easy or really difficult for Oscar to get the pellets out.
Cons of the Bob-A-Lot: The biggest con of the Bob-A-Lot is that it’s a heavy toy, so it’s pretty loud. This doesn’t really bother me because I’m used to loud things after a year with a mini pig, but it might bother some people. It does bang around a bit, especially on floors and walls. I prefer to close Oscar in a carpeted room when he plays with the Bob-A-Lot because the toy is much quieter on carpet than on harder floors. Although the heaviness of the toy is a drawback, it’s a small issue to me compared to the value it provides in keeping Oscar occupied. But, if you have a lot of fragile items in your home or know that the “thudding” of the toy against the floors or walls would bother you, you might want to pass on this toy.
The second con is that the Bob-A-Lot is tougher to clean than the IQ Treat Ball. I’ve been spoiled with the IQ Treat Ball because it comes completely apart for thorough washing and drying. The Bob-A-Lot doesn’t come completely apart, so I swish soapy water (and sometimes vinegar) in the base part to clean it and then set it out to dry. Again, this isn’t a huge problem, but it’s a slight con for me.
The Bob-A-Lot vs The IQ Treat Ball: I’ve mentioned before how much we love the IQ Treat Ball, and we still do. I like having both toys for Oscar because, although similar, they have some differences. For young or small mini pigs, I recommend the IQ Treat Ball. It’s significantly lighter and holds a smaller amount of pellets and treats, so it’s the perfect option for getting your mini pig started with food-dispensing toys. As your pig grows, the Bob-A-Lot is great because it holds more food and can keep your pig busy for a long time. These days I tend to prefer the Bob-A-Lot for Oscar’s meals and the IQ Treat Ball for quick, fun snacks.
Toys for mini pigs can be difficult to find. We have only found a few that keep Oscar’s attention at all, so I get really excited when we find a new toy that he enjoys. I highly recommend both the Bob-A-Lot and the IQ treat ball, based on Oscar’s experience with them, for help with keeping your mini pig entertained and stimulated.
I have no affiliation with the companies that make the IQ Treat Ball or the StarMark Bob-A-Lot. I purchased them myself and simply find them to be great mini pig toys based on Oscar’s experience with them.
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.
Oscar has struggled with several skin issues since we first brought him home. Oscar not only had mange, but he’s also had two staph infections on his skin. Although his major skin issues have been treated and have healed, we still try to take care of his skin on a daily basis to prevent future problems.
Even if a mini pig doesn’t have mange or any skin infections, dry skin is a concern for most pigs. We try to keep Oscar’s skin from getting too dry in a few different ways. We try not to bathe Oscar unless it’s absolutely necessary since bathing can dry out a mini pig’s skin. This is easy since he hates water anyway! Instead, we just wipe him down with a damp towel every few days to keep him clean. We also brush him gently but regularly, which helps exfoliate his skin and control skin flakes.
Another way we try to keep Oscar’s skin healthy is by using lotion and sunscreen. We have tried lotion, baby oil, and coconut oil on his skin, and all seem to work well depending on your preference. The trouble with external lotion and oils is that I had trouble getting them underneath his hair and onto his skin. Also, Oscar likes to cuddle, so sometimes I would oil him up and then he would settle in to cuddle, getting the oil all over me. It also makes him slick depending on how much and what type of lotion or oil is used, so I have a hard time catching him when I need to!
I still use lotion and sunscreen when necessary, but I came across a much easier internal solution that I use on a daily basis now to keep Oscar’s skin healthy: coconut oil treats. I got this idea from the awesome Peony the Pig and her mom, Lauren, and it’s quick, easy, and Oscar loves it. The basic idea is that you heat coconut oil, put it in a silicone ice cube tray, put the tray in the freezer until frozen, pop out the frozen coconut oil treats, and give one to your mini pig daily or every other day as a treat. The oil helps keep your pig’s skin healthy from the inside out, and it’s easier and faster than external lotions and oils. I make Oscar’s treats out of Spectrum Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil since that’s my preference, but it’s definitely not necessary to use that specific kind. Peony’s mom made a quick and helpful video on how she makes coconut oil treats, and she also listed detailed instructions in text next to the video, so definitely check it out if you’re interested in making coconut oil treats for your mini pig.
Watch Oscar eat his coconut oil treat. He loves them!
I put Oscar’s frozen coconut treats in a ziploc bag and then smash them into smaller pieces to add to his salad or his meals each day. He gets super excited about them, and his skin looks great these days. The coconut oil treats, combined with his brushing and occasional lotioning and sunscreen, seem to help keep his skin healthy and less dry.
If you haven’t checked out Peony the Pig, I highly recommend it. Not only is she an adorable, happy pig, but she and her mom have an awesome website, PeonythePig.com, where they feature outstanding pigs with interesting stories. It’s a great place to learn about other pigs and their families in an interview-style format. Peony and her mom ask questions that other mini pig parents will find very useful in learning about how other pigs and their parents live day to day. Definitely check it out!
One of our favorite things about Oscar lately is his Mohawk. Mini pigs have a strip of hair on top of their back called their Mohawk, and they raise and lower their Mohawks throughout the day for a few different reasons. The first reason Oscar raises his Mohawk is due to contentment. When Oscar gets a back scratch or a belly rub, the hairs of his Mohawk stand up. If I walk up to Oscar and start scratching him, I can actually watch his Mohawk slowly rise. I love it because it lets me know that Oscar is really enjoying his back scratch or belly rub, and I love knowing he’s happy.
The other reason a mini pig’s Mohawk stands up is due to aggression or fear. Pigs are prey animals, so their Mohawks give them protection by allowing them to appear larger to other animals when they are approached or challenged. It’s a really interesting form of protection, and knowing about this has helped me better understand Oscar’s state of mind. As I discussed in a previous post, Oscar and our dog, Rylee, occasionally challenge and snip at each other. Most of the time, it’s a quick snip and then they both move on. Every once in a while though, Oscar tries to instigate a more serious challenge. I’ve learned that I can usually tell by his Mohawk how aggressive he’s feeling toward Rylee, and that lets me know I need to stop what I’m doing and really pay attention to their interaction. I try to let Oscar and Rylee work things out between themselves because intervening seems to make things worse in the long run. Now though, I check to see if Oscar’s Mohawk is standing straight up when he engages Rylee in a challenge. If it is, I know to be prepared to step in since things could escalate more quickly.
Here is a video of Oscar’s Mohawk rising during a back scratch.
We are really enjoying Oscar’s Mohawk lately. It’s fun to watch his Mohawk hairs rise when he’s getting a back scratch or belly rub, and it’s also a great communication tool for when he’s feeling aggressive or fearful. Since mini pig raise their Mohawks for both contentment and aggression, it can be confusing at first to understand what your pig is communicating. However, once you get to know your pig, it becomes very easy to figure out what your pig is communicating through his Mohawk, making it a great tool for better understanding your pig and his state of mind.