The Truth About Teacup Pigs
In recent years there has been an increase in the demand for such a pet as a “teacup” version of a regular sized animal. Most breed registries do not recognize this category of size in their animals as this is a gimmick used for marketing, and in fact are generally unhealthy, and poorly bred animals, stunted intentionally for the purpose of money.
The word “Teacup” is often associated with tiny dogs, being poorly bred, runts, or stunted through poor nutrition, the “breeders” (and I use that term loosely) price the animals high because cute sells, and small is cute.
In recent years the word “Teacup” has been applied to other animals, including pigs. Make no mistake Teacup Pigs are not healthy pets.
Trouble With Teacup Pets
Some of the problems common in teacup pigs, and other teacup animals are listed below:
- Heart Deformities, often resulting in a short lifespan.
- Digestive system deformities (very common in teacup pigs).
- Liver deformities, known as shunts.
- Prone to Hypoglycemia.
- More at risk to head/brain injury as the soft spot on their skull may not harden correctly.
- More susceptible to illness and stress.
- Tend to have more fragile bones.
- More dental problems.
- Higher rate of Epilepsy.
- More prone to dehydration.
- Other deformities in offspring due to inbreeding often used to get such small animals.
One of the worst things that happens is their outsides stop growing, but their insides (intestines) continue to grow so by the time the pet is an adult, it has full sized organs in a part sized body. As you can imagine this causes the pet great pain, distress, and possibly illness, requiring expensive surgery. Your Teacup Piggy could end up breaking your piggy bank.
The Reality of Teacup Pigs
Teacup pigs are a result of poor breeding. Most reputable breeders (of any animal) take the parent animals to shows to prove their worth as breeding animals. They cull runts and generally do not breed them. They may sell them at reduced prices as pets only, and ensure they are spayed or neutered. Good breeders breed only the best animals, and their desire is to produce even better animals according to the breed standard. Remember “teacup” is NOT a breed standard.
In the teacup industry, not only are abnormally small animals bred but they are also often stunted through poor diet and nutrition. Fed only enough to stay alive, but not so much that they grow at a proper rate.
In some case the people who buy the pets find themselves strapped with a high veterinary bill, in other cases people find that with proper food the pet grows to an alarming size.
The Problem with Pet Pigs in General
Pigs are highly intelligent animals, on par with small dog breeds. They are social animals and do best when kept with other pigs, or at least other pets. If their mental needs are not met they become depressed, or destructive. Many people are not equipped or prepared to deal with a lifetime commitment of a large pig they thought would remain the size of a house cat.
Pet Pigs are not legal in some areas. Anyone interested in getting a pet pig of any kind is advised to do further research. If you are buying any animal labeled as a teacup and are being asked to pay a high price (anything more than the cost of vaccinations and deworming already done) you should INSIST on seeing show records of the parents (yes there are shows for pigs) to prove they were worthy of being bred, AND should get some sort of health guarantee and genetic guarantee IN WRITING.