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!