15

I have a 10 month old (mostly) American mini-pig/potbelly mix.

We've been taking the little guy on walks about 4 days a week. We'll go out around the block and interact with some neighbors and let him lead the way for some and explore. The walks end up being ~0.8 miles (~1.3 km) and we take around 15 minutes. The little guy even ends up running them some days when he's feeling up to it:

Running piggy

We realized we have a great park just a few streets over, so we've started trying that out. To get there, do a little loop and come home ends up being closer to ~1.4 miles (~2.3 km). And since he's still unfamiliar, he goes a little slower and roots every interesting smell in the grass. So we end up taking closer to 30-40 minutes.

While he seems to be doing fine with this length of walk, I just recently read some posts here about a healthy amount of exercise for puppies and how there is such a thing as overdoing it and injuring the animal (1, 2). I'd guess that the same is true for pigs. However, any searching I do results in tips for large farm or show pigs with a focus on not making them lose too much of their weight.

Our little guy is 10 months old and 15 lbs (6.8 kg). Is a 4 days a week ~1.4 miles (~2.3 km) 30-40 minute walk too long for him?

19

Pigs and dogs are actually quite comparable - in size, development and intelligence. Therefore I'd like to refer you to this question: How often and long should I walk my puppy?

There is a 5 minute rule which is basically 5 minutes walk per day, per month of your puppy’s life, so therefore a 3 month old puppy can be walked for 15 minutes and a 4 month old puppy for 20 minutes, which is a guideline but as an owner make your own judgement on your puppies needs as each puppy is different.

Basically, you should observe the behavior of your pig. When he starts slowing down or showing signs of exhaustion, you should return home and let him rest.

You should also avoid too much stress on the bones and joints, like having him jump down from heights or letting him carry wheights. As long as he isn't full-grown, that could cause problems like joint pain or growth abnormalities on the long run.

In general, wild boars are foragers and can roam several kilometers daily in search of food. That means the build of a pig is designed for long walks. As long as you don't force or animate your pet to walk when he already shows signs of exhaustion, he should be fine.

One aspect that could affect him, but doesn't seem to be a problem in this particular case, is the abrasion of his claws. Comparable to the hooves of a horse, pig claws grow constantly but slowly. If your pig always walks on very soft ground, his claws may grow too long and force the foot into an unatural and painful position. On the other hand, if he always walks on alphalted roads, gravel or other abrasive undergrounds, his claws might wear out faster than they regrow, making his feet very sensitive and walking painful.

  • 3
    Ooh great point with wearing down the hooves, that's absolutely not something we'd thought of. We tend to stay on top of filing them when they get too long and sharp, but we'll be keeping an eye on them being worn down too quickly now too! – scohe001 Mar 3 '20 at 13:19
  • 3
    @scohe001 It's a known problem in horses in tourist areas that their hooves wear down faster than they regrow if the horses walk on streets all day. You can put a set of horseshoes on a horse, but there is no equivalent for pigs ;) – Elmy Mar 3 '20 at 14:29
  • 2
    @Elmy But can you imagine how cute pig-shoes would be? – SolaGratia Mar 3 '20 at 22:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.