What to Look Out for When Adopting a Skinny Pig From a Pet Store!

What to Look Out for When Adopting a Skinny Pig From a Pet Store!

What to Look Out for When Adopting a Skinny Pig From a Pet Store!

I have seen a lot of people in our Facebook community adopting skinny pigs from pet stores, only to find out there is something wrong with their piggy after the fact. From unexpected pregnancies to health issues, it's crucial to be well-informed before you bring one of these little creatures into your home. 

I created this guide to arm you with all the knowledge you need to adopt a healthy, happy skinny pig and avoid common pitfalls associated with unscrupulous pet stores and breeders.

Health Checks: What to Look For

When visiting a pet store or breeder, the health of your potential new pet is paramount. Here are key health indicators to look out for:

Eyes and Nose: Clear, bright eyes and a clean nose are good signs. Discharge or crustiness can indicate health issues.

Skin: Check for any sores, blemishes, or signs of infection. Their skin should be smooth and free of cuts or bumps. Ringworm is a common problem, so be sure to check for that too.

Behavior: A healthy skinny pig should be alert and curious. Lethargy or reluctance to move can be a red flag. 

Feet: Check their feet for any signs of bumblefoot that may be hindering their ability to walk. Look for any redness, swelling, or sores that may be the start of foot issues.

Weight: They should feel solid but not overly fat - you can gently check their ribcage for a healthy weight indication. Very thin skinny pigs may have underlying health issues so be careful if you can feel their ribs.

The Pregnancy Predicament: Signs and Prevention

One of the more surprising challenges of adopting skinny pigs is inadvertently bringing home a pregnant pet. Here's how to avoid such unwelcome surprises:

Ask for History: Inquire about the skinny pig's history and whether they've been housed with males. Knowing how to tell the gender of a skinny pig is also a really useful skill (especially when dealing with unscrupulous sellers). If possible, choose a pet that has been housed separately from males.

Physical Signs: While it's challenging for an untrained eye, look for signs of weight gain or changes in shape. Pregnant skinny pigs are distinctly round in the belly - If she’s fat, put her back!

Red Flags and Warning Signs at Pet Stores

Not all pet stores are created equal. Here are some red flags to watch out for:

Overcrowded Enclosures: This can lead to stress and health issues in skinny pigs.

Lack of Knowledge: Staff should be well-informed about skinny pigs, including their care and health needs. Ask questions!

Poor Hygiene: Cleanliness of the enclosures is crucial for the health of the animals.

Questions to Ask Before Adoption

Don't hesitate to ask lots of questions - an above board breeder or pet store will be more than happy to answer all your questions and provide you with all the information you need to feel secure adopting from them. Here are some good questions to start with:

  • Can I see the health records?
  • What has their diet been like?
  • Can you provide information on their lineage and breeding history?
  • Have males and females been housed separately?

If you are tempted to impulsively rescue skinny pigs from poor conditions in a pet store or from a breeder (not a judgment, I am the same - just a warning) - be sure you are prepared for the cost involved in the potential health issues you may incur. Raising skinny pig babies is not for the faint-hearted - it’s a big responsibility and you should make sure you are educated and up to date with best practices. 

Adopting a skinny pig is an exciting time, however, it's essential to approach the adoption process with care and diligence to ensure you and your new pet enjoy a healthy, happy life together. By keeping an eye out for the health indicators, understanding the risks of unexpected pregnancies, and knowing the red flags in pet stores, you're well on your way to becoming a responsible and loving skinny pig owner. 

Happy adopting!

For more tips like these - join our thriving Facebook community.

Keep giving your pets the best of natural life!


April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., M.P.H

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