So, You Want a Pet Pig: A Guide to Pig Ownership in Madison


In September, the Madison City Council voted to change city pig rules. Under the new regulations, each home can keep one pig as a pet as long as it is 24 inches tall or less (at the shoulder), weighs less than 300 pounds, and meets other rules. But before you run to your nearest pig distributor, there’s some practical things you should know about keeping this kind of animal as a pet.

Pet pig inside home.

Like any pet, pig parents are responsible for the health and well-being of their pig.

Having a USDA exotic animal veterinarian who is experienced with treating mini pigs is a vital first step when you’re bringing home a pet pig. Your vet can walk you through all of the routine maintenance needed to keep your pet pig happy and healthy. Things like:

  • Obtaining an annual license and staying up to date on recommended vaccinations including Erysipelas, Tetanus, Leptospirosis, Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, and Rabies.
  • Regular deworming (typically every 4-6 months) for internal and external parasites. Dewormers can be purchased over the counter at local feed stores and online.
  • Hoof trimming is also an important part of keeping a pig clean and healthy. You can do this trimming yourself or take the animal to a veterinarian. 

In some ways, caring for a pet pig is a lot like caring for other pets. They need a clean place to sleep, litter pan, food and water dishes, harness and leash, treats, and more. Remember, on average, pigs live to be about 15 years old—so keeping a pet pig is a long-term commitment.
If you are looking to bring a pet pig home, make sure you get the animal from a reputable dealer that is not trying to pass off a small agricultural animal as a mini pig.

There are some exceptions to the new rules

It’s important to be aware that in certain situations, you may still not be able to keep a pig in your home. Home Owners Associations, landowners, and landlords have the right to deny a pig (or any animal) as a pet. Any potential pig owner should check to see if there are any restrictions based on their rental or association agreements.

Curious about the rules for other pets?

Maybe a pet pig isn’t for you. There are many other animals that can be kept as pets in Madison, including cats, dogs, lizards, snakes, hamsters, and even chickens. See the municipal code for a list of exotic animals that are prohibited. According to new rules passed in March, Madisonians are allowed to keep eight chickens in their backyard, as long as they get an annual license to keep them in a residential property and as long as there are no more than four housing units on the lot. It is illegal to possess almost all wild animals in Wisconsin.

Do your research before bringing any animal into your home

Whether you’re looking to adopt a dog, cat, or pig, the main thing you have to do is research. Learn about what it takes to take care of the animal, in terms of time commitment, financial commitment, and understand all of the rules and regulations. Understanding these things will help you decide if the animal is the right fit for their family.

Note: the rules explained above apply to those living in the City of Madison. Check with your municipality to find out what the rules are where you live.

This content is free for use with credit to Public Health Madison & Dane County .

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