Articles

Behavior

  • Mini-pigs that interact with and receive positive feedback from humans during the first two months of life are social and enjoy being with people. They typically have a daily routine that involves eating, drinking, eliminating, socializing, sleeping, and digging. Pigs are very intelligent and need environmental enrichment, or they can become bored and destructive. Pet pigs that are not provided with appropriate environmental enrichment or are not socialized early in life may develop stereotypical behaviors including pacing, staring, excessive drinking, hitting walls, drooling, rubbing on things excessively, and repeated licking or chewing on objects, especially metal and rope. Ideally, pigs should be allowed to root outside in untreated lawn. If they are not allowed access to an area for rooting, they may dig up floors, carpeting, or walls in your home, and chew up house plants. Pet pigs can suddenly become aggressive in response to changes within a household including a change in caretaker schedule, introduction of new pets and people, and discomfort from illness.

  • Owners will recognize that horses and ponies all have different 'personalities', with varying temperaments, willingness to please and responses to environment and handling. With the exception of some of the miniature breeds, they are bigger and stronger than their handlers.

  • Cats can have a special relationship with each other even if they are not related. A bonded pair consists of two cats that thrive when kept together. Shelters recognize the benefits of housing bonded pairs together and encourage the adoption of the two cats simultaneously. There are pros and cons of dual adoption. Potential cat owners should review the considerations and make an educated decision regarding their adoption options. Even though caring for two cats means a commitment of more time and money, it may also mean more joy.

  • Lack of early positive environmental exposure during the socialization period can be as damaging as a traumatic or negative experience in a particular environment. Fear may be associated with unfamiliar sights, sounds, or even the odors of a particular location. Use of verbal reprimands, punishment, or correction in a specific environment may lead to fear and anxiety associated with that environment.

  • There are many breeds of miniature pigs, including the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. In addition to pot-bellied pigs, the term mini-pig includes an additional 14 recognized breeds of small pigs including Julianas and KuneKunes. Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs can be as heavy as 200 pounds, reach a height of 14-20 inches at the shoulders and typically live for 14-21 years. Mini-pigs communicate both with sounds and with body language. Mini-pigs should never be left alone unsupervised with even the friendliest, potentially predatory, dogs and cats. Mini-pigs are very smart and can be trained to walk on a leash/harness and to sit, stay, come, and retrieve objects.

  • Losing a pet is difficult for all members of the family including surviving pets. Dogs and cats view family members, animal and human, as part of a pack. The stability of the pack is important to the pet’s sense of well being. Disruption of the pack dynamic that occurs when one pet dies can impact the other pets in the family. Pets form relationships with each other and with humans and they respond to the loss of a family member with physical and behavioral changes that manifest as grief. Recognizing and dealing with pet grief can help re-establish a healthy family unit.

  • Crate training is most commonly used with dogs, but it can be useful for kittens and cats too. Crate training is useful in many situations, such as providing a safe place when home alone or unsupervised which prevents housetraining mistakes, a safe place to sleep undisturbed, to travel by car or airplane, for medical care and visits to the veterinarian, and for boarding or vacation camp. Starting while your pet is young makes training easier, but most pets can be trained. If your pet shows signs of distress (e.g., prolonged vocalization, trying to escape, salivation, rapid continuous movement) while using the training methods provided in this handout consult with your veterinarian.

  • During the pandemic so many pet owners have been at home with their pets more than ever before. As we return to work and life outside the home after this period of constant connection, our pets may be at risk for developing or displaying signs of separation distress. If your pet is showing the signs listed here, tell your veterinary team right away. Try to avoid pairing specific actions and activities with infrequently leaving home. The goal is to prevent creating a link in the pet’s mind between departure cues and feelings of anxiety about being alone. When you are getting ready to leave, no drama, and the same when you return. Be calm, reassuring, and relaxed. Practice separations help assess if pets are comfortable being left alone. If you are not sure if your pet is comfortable alone, a video camera is a terrific tool to check in. If you are concerned your pet may have separation distress or separation anxiety, reach out to your veterinary team.

  • Caterwauling is cat vocalizations that sound like a cross between a yowl, a howl, and a whine. This disturbing noise may result from medical problems, physical needs, hormonal stimulations, or emotional insecurities. The response to caterwauling should focus on addressing the cat’s circumstances and filling his needs.

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