Category Archives: Information

Informational Posts

Looking For A Few Chubby Dogs

Overweight dog (beagle)

Looking For A Few Chubby Dogs

Is your dog getting pudgy around the middle? Has she lost her girlish puppy figure? Did your boy once have a svelte outline when he was two years old, but now you can grab a big handful of “extra dog” behind his collar and over his shoulders? We have become a nation of overweight people and obese children — so it’s only logical our dogs are suffering the same fate — and all the medical problems that follow from it. We’ve got a solution for the dogs, at least!

Halo’s own expert vet Dr. Donna Spector is my co-host on THE EXPERT VET on the Radio Pet Lady Network and we have been having a great time on our show and website helping people whose dogs have packed on a few too many pounds to shed the weight using the Halo Healthy Weight kibble. Once we discover a canine candidate, he needs to live with a human who is highly motivated to put the dog on a strict calorie-controlled diet devised by Dr. Donna. She calculates what the dog weighed at age two (a good benchmark for a healthy weight for most dogs) and then creates a diet that will burn body fat, yet keep the dog from feeling too hungry. Halo has graciously allowed us to offer three months’ worth of canned Spot’s Stew and their Healthy Weight Grain-Free dry food to those dogs. It’s plain for everyone to see for themselves that a super-premium food like Halo’s can also be used a “diet food.” When it’s in the right hands.

Dr. Donna’s Weight Loss Strategy for Faith, the Siberian Husky

Dr. Donna and I have just completed another successful weight loss experience with Faith, a beautiful California pooch who lives with her fellow Siberian Huskies. Faith had gotten quite chubby over (what seemed to her Mom a short period of time) and simply cutting back on Faith’s food portions was not making a dent in those added pounds. Her mom was dismayed because she knew the negative health consequences of a dog being overweight, but she was making no headway trying to put Faith on a diet.

Enter Superwoman, Dr. Donna to the rescue! Dr. Donna put together a carefully planned diet for Faith (as she had done for Teddy and Fritz previously) and Faith’s Mom agreed to take her to the vet’s office for weekly weigh-ins, and to stick to the low-calorie vegetable snacks and other instructions from Dr. Donna that go along with Halo Healthy Weight food. Faith not only lost weight the slow-and-steady way that is healthy and can establish a new normal weight for Faith- but she is more playful and generally happier. And Faith is going to stay on the Halo food to maintain that hard-won weight loss!

Enter Your Dog in the Weight Loss Challenge

Now we are on the lookout again for another lucky candidate for the Halo Healthy Weight Challenge on our show. Do you have a dog you’ve come to think of as chubby? Do him a favor! Send us a note to and tell us your dog’s age, type, weight now, and weight at age two (an optimal target weight). If we choose your dog we’ll be following you on THE EXPERT VET and giving you the Halo Healthy Weight food and Spot’s Stew in a can to turn your dog’s life around.

We are so grateful that Halo Purely for Pets shares our concern not just about the highest quality ingredients in a dog’s diet, but also that so many dogs are getting “too much of a good thing” and getting fat. With our weight loss challenge we hope to raise awareness that giving your dog even a few tablespoons of food more than what he really needs can wind up packing on the pounds over time and creating an avoidable problem. Please write us at

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: NickNguyen via photopin cc

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Halo’s Healthy Weight Challenge: Successful Week 10!

Faith, on Halo's Healthy Weight Loss ChallengeHalo’s Healthy Weight Challenge: Back To A Successful Week 10!

Guest blog by Dr. Donna Spector

True to form—after no weight loss during weeks 8 and 9—Faith weighed in with a loss of 1.2 pounds this week. She is now 61.4 pounds—way to go Faith!

Faith’s mom often feels she is on a weight loss roller coaster but I encourage her to recognize this as the way Faith’s body loses weight. Although Faith has a weekly weight loss target, it is always best to look at the bigger picture of weight loss over several weeks.

Although weight loss is our goal, if the pounds are coming off slowly a dog owner may need to change their focus to improving health instead of just chasing a number every week on the scale. Not necessarily “how long will it take?” but rather “think of how much better my dog will feel”. Slow and steady wins this race!

I just received this email from Faith’s mom:

“I really appreciate all that you and Halo are doing for Faith. She is acting like a young pup again! Her happiness makes my heart very happy! The pet sitter noticed her increased activity too. It’s fun to see her zooming around!”

Check back in 2 weeks for Faith’s final weigh-in!

Faith is the second participant enrolled in the Halo Healthy Weight Challenge on THE EXPERT VET of the RADIO PET LADY NETWORK. Faith is eating a specially designed meal plan of Halo Healthy Weight natural dog food and extra fruits and veggies to help her get back to a thin and trim weight.

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Halo’s Healthy Weight Challenge: The Dreaded Plateau of Weeks 8 & 9

Faith, on Halo's Healthy Weight Loss ChallengeHalo’s Healthy Weight Challenge: The Dreaded Plateau of Weeks 8 & 9

Guest blog by Dr. Donna Spector

Faith has definitely exhibited a distinct pattern of weight loss over the past 9 weeks—she will lose 1 or 2 pounds and then plateau for a couple of weeks.

My experience with owners of overweight dogs on a weight loss program is that they become concerned, disheartened or frustrated when they don’t see results on the scale every single week. It can test even the best owners “stick-to-itiveness” when they are following strict feeding guidelines and limiting treats and not getting positive feedback from the dreaded scale. If this sounds like you, do not lose hope!

What I have found with pudgy pooches is that the plateau is a common part of the weight loss process and every dog (person too!) loses weight differently. Some lose quickly and easily and others seem to struggle with every pound. Although I have given Faith a weekly weight loss goal, it is best to always look at the big picture. I know that Faith’s mom has been sticking to the plan—because she keeps an excellent journal!—so it is best to wait a little before considering another major calorie cut or diet adjustment as this plateau is the way Faith’s body normally loses weight.

For a dog on a diet, a good rule-of-thumb is to consider a change in the plan if weight loss has not occurred for 4 weeks in a row. First, look at the calories and consider a further restriction. It is also reasonable to consider changing to a different type of food. Although a high-protein/low-calorie food like Halo Healthy Weight is a great first choice, some dogs will do better on a higher fiber diet or some other type. Ask your veterinarian for help with this decision if your current plan is not working.

I have faith in Faith—check back next week to see if she has lost more or if we need to further adjust her food plan to get her back on track!

Faith is the second participant enrolled in the Halo Healthy Weight Challenge on THE EXPERT VET of the RADIO PET LADY NETWORK. Faith is eating a specially designed meal plan of Halo Healthy Weight natural dog food and extra fruits and veggies to help her get back to a thin and trim weight.

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Treating Fido Like Family in China

Woman crossing street with dog in stroller

Treating Fido Like Family in China

Mary Peng advocates for the welfare of the rapidly growing number of “companion animals” in Chinese cities.

[Journalist Debra Bruno writes for the Atlantic and posted this superb article about changing values and practices in China regarding dogs as dinner or family members — and mentions Mary Peng, my wonderful co-host on TAILS FROM CHINA. This article neatly describes the explosive changes in Chinese attitudes towards animals as pets, a topic which is the mission of our radio show.]

Guest Post by Debra Bruno

The images were shocking: Truckloads of wire cages jammed with bedraggled dogs, all of them looking like family pets that got caught in the rain. The animals were headed for the Yulin summer solstice festival, an annual event in the southern Chinese city, where they would be killed, skinned, and served as barbecue or hot pot.

Although the festival takes place each year, more and more activists and animal lovers are stepping in to try to prevent the slaughter and consumption of as many as 10,000 dogs.

The festival illustrates the paradox of a changing China: The clash between a traditional culture that celebrates the solstice with eating lychee and dog meat, and the growing middle class that treats the pet pooch as a member of the family.

Animal rights activists hold caged dogs they bought prior to the Yulin festival last June, to keep them from being killed.

Animal rights activists purchased these caged dogs prior to Yulin festival to save them from slaughter. (Stringer/Reuters)

Some reports say there are as many as 1.2 million registered dogs in Beijing alone (a city of about 22 million), and 10 million in China overall, but that number doesn’t include the unregistered dogs, which China would count as strays and confiscate.

Pet ownership is largely an urban practice, in contrast to rural villages, where dogs are still used as guards and to herd sheep. People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, published an editorial in June decrying pet ownership and calling it one of the downsides of Western influence.

But in cities, many families with one child lavish additional attention on the family pet. Some older Beijingers walk around the city pushing strollers that hold a dog instead of a tot.

Mary Peng, founder of Beijing’s International Center for Veterinary Services, thinks the best approach to ending the practice of killing dogs for meat is to make the conversation about public health.

“We have found it’s much more effective to base the argument on science,” she says. For the ever-practical Chinese in a country with increasing numbers of food-safety scares, the thought of eating meat that might have come from a dog with rabies or who had been poisoned is a powerful one. The emotional appeal—don’t eat Fido!—will come of its own accord as the country’s urban middle class grows, Peng thinks.

The festival illustrates the clash between a traditional culture that celebrates the solstice with eating lychee and dog meat, and the growing middle class that treats the pet pooch as a member of the family.

Peng, a Chinese-American New Yorker who has lived in China since 1991, has an acute sense of how to work the system here. When she adopted a cat not long after her move to the country and discovered that veterinary care for cats was less than ideal, she co-founded her own hospital. Today, ICVS offers boarding, grooming, emergency care, and a steady flow of free lectures on topics such as how to exit China with a pet or the legal requirements related to keeping a dog in Beijing.

In addition, Peng has become Beijing’s go-to companion-animal expert, writing a column on pet issues for the English-language Beijinger magazine, serving as a board member of the Jane Goodall Institute in China, and creating a radio program, “Tails from China,” on the Radio Pet Lady Network. She’s in the process of revising a guide to companion animals to be distributed to Chinese schoolchildren in the city.

And when she’s not talking about spaying and neutering feral cats, the hazards of unregulated puppy mills, or China’s quarantine regulations for incoming animals, she’s pushing to end the practice of dogs as menu items.

“It’s one of the last vestiges of a very traditional food culture in China,” she says. Cats and dogs are seen as “exotic delicacies” in China’s south, and as a warming winter food in the country’s north near Korea.

Mary Peng, shown with a little girl and her baby rabbits.

Mary Peng, shown with a little girl and her baby rabbits.

The health argument strikes a chord, Peng says. “What do you think the chances are of having high-quality, high-grade, disease-free, antibiotic-free meat from animals who are completely off the grid?” she asks. Rabies is present in the dog population in China, and consuming a dog that might have had rabies is a “possible risk,” she says.

Jill Robinson, the founder of Animals Asia, a nonprofit that works on everything from bear bile farms to conditions in zoos, says another issue is that many of the dogs have been poisoned so they can be easily snatched. When Robinson first came to China in the 1980s, she found dog farms that raised animals for meat. But farmers realized it was too expensive to prevent disease in the animals, and “it became easier for the trade to steal these dogs,” she says.

In dogs recovered from dog markets, “we see licenses faked, dogs wearing collars, who had obviously been socialized into a family home,” she says.

This year in Yulin, activists protested the festival as others came to sit at round tables in an alleyway and eat barbecued dog. Newspapers reported that one dog seller threatened to strangle a puppy unless someone bought him on the spot, so activists did.

In dogs recovered from dog markets, “we see licenses faked, dogs wearing collars, who had obviously been socialized into a family home,” Robinson says.

The rise of social media in China has fueled activism. Ten years ago, the reach of animal-rights activists was “fairly limited,” Peng says. “Now we have eyes on the street. If they’re riding down the highway and they see a truck with 500 dogs crammed into tiny cages,” activists start putting pictures on social media and there is a “huge procession of demonstrators,” she says.

(Ironically, all this publicity has had the effect of temporarily letting sellers gouge prices for dog meat.)

In May, the Chinese actress Yang Mi put a much-viewed post on the social media site Weibo. She wrote, “I treat dogs as friends, I don’t eat dog meat, and I oppose the use of dog meat as food,” and she called for an end to the Yulin festival.

Peng believes that changing attitudes and growth in the practice of keeping a family pet will cause an evolution away from dog-meat cuisine. “I feel so strongly that the moral character of a nation is tied to the way it treats its animals,” she says. “If you are kind to the animals, you are kind to each other.”

This post originally appeared at:

Is Wet Cat Food Really So Much Better Than Dry?

Cat eside empty food bowl

Is Wet Cat Food Really So Much Better Than Dry?

I got this letter from Carol, a listener to my show CAT CHAT® that really made an impression on me because it was so honest about her long-held skepticism about my urgent recommendation to everyone that they feed canned food to their kitties.

“I have long been a skeptic on dry vs. wet. All my cats, my whole life, had been on dry and have done well. I’ve listened to your show, and your phrase “kitty crack” to describe dry food, and I must say I have blown you off for quite some time. Then I inherited a fat kitty, as well as having a skinny kitty already (I attributed his thinness and other health problems to his age). Well, I took my dog to the vet, and asked how to get my fat cat to lose weight. He told me to use canned food; that this was the current thinking. Then, I took the fat cat to another vet (I had to move her out of state temporarily) and that vet said that ideas were shifting and it was now recommended to feed wet food, as cats are obligate carnivores. So I was finally convinced: I moved all my kitties to wet. Well, my fat one is getting skinny, my skinny one is getting fat and on top of that is gaining a great coat, urinating less, shedding less, and now has incredible skin, as well as attitude. He looks better than I have ever seen him, even at age 14. I just wanted to apologize for blowing you off, but I really was a pretty big holdout. If I changed, then anyone can. You can use this message to help others. Love your show.”

How generous to acknowledge the huge improvement in her cats’ health when they stopped eating “kitty crack.”

Carol’s thoughtful note just knocked my socks off! It’s so great that she took the time to acknowledge her reluctance to follow my advice about “Thinking Outside the Bag,” and then showed humility in admitting that her skepticism was misplaced — plus she wanted her story to help others “see the light” for their kitty cats. This was the coolest letter I have ever gotten — and I was so grateful that I thanked her by sending a signed copy of THE CAT BIBLE. What made me doubly happy was that two different vets praised wet food and had caught up with the research (and common sense) showing the harm of feeding carbohydrates to an animal intended to eat a meat diet.

Not All canned cat food is created equal.

Once I get a convert to wet food, then I always try to point out that many supermarket brands of canned cat foods can contain quite a lot of carbs and inferior sources of protein. So people should be willing to go the distance to find brands with minimal carbs in the can or you aren’t really solving the nutritional health problem. That’s why Halo’s pate style foods with around 3% carbs — and Weruva’s Paw Lickin’ Chicken are stars in my firmament!

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: hehaden via photopin cc

Halo & Weruva are sponsors on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Cats are Eating Cindy out of House and Home

cat looking at table food

Cats are Eating Cindy out of House and Home

I got this email from Cindy, who is a Cat Chat® listener, and has taken to heart my advice to feed cats wet food only, because they are obligate carnivores whose bodies don’t need or do well with carbohydrates. She wrote:

“Thanks to you, over the past year I have converted all 5 of my cats to wet food. They get 1/2 can 2 times per day. 4 domestic short hair and 1 feral. All was going well — the overweight cat lost 8 pounds and did well and everyone else maintained weight. These are indoor and outdoor cats that live on a very big farm. Here’s the problem: all of these cats are attacking human food. They seem hungry constantly. They are eating food on the table when I eat, bread in wrappers on the counters, dog food during preparation for my 9 dogs on the farm. I don’t think 2 times per day feeding is enough to satisfy or sustain and have been feeding 3 times per day with winter weather rolling in. They live inside and come and go at will. Any suggestions?”

I did ask if the cats had been de-wormed and she assured me that they had. So it sounds as though Cindy has 5 healthy, hale and hearty cats, who are enjoying all the benefits of living with people and also the safe freedom of having a natural feline life outdoors. However, there are two possible reasons they are eating everything in sight: the quality and quantity of canned food

The first issue is quality: not all canned cat foods are created equal

cat looking at steak on plateWhile wet food is a more natural diet for a cat, you still have to pay attention to what is inside those cans. Is it a good quality protein as the first ingredient (often after water needed for processing)? Is the proportion of carbohydrates in that food best for a carnivore—less than 10% of calories from carbs? Because there are many brands of canned food that are full not only of carbohydrates (more than 50%, as if they were dry food in a can) but also may utilize poor quality protein ingredients, like by-product instead of a meat source. Those lower quality ingredients are also less expensive, meaning greater profits for the manufacturer — but not the quality needed by a cat’s finely tuned “engine.” Those foods will not satisfy a cat’s hunger, and may even make her hungrier, the way eating nothing but dry food can do to a cat’s appetite. Halo happens to have created a new pate style canned food that has an extraordinarily low percentage of calories coming from carbohydrates–around 3% — a real gift of health to our kitties.

The next problem is: are cats getting short changed on quantity and simply need more food?

Cindy’s cats sound as though they are burning up their food at a high rate of metabolism since they have an active lifestyle in and out of the house (since it is safe on her farm); with the weather turning cooler, that burns more calories, too. So it’s not how many times a day she feeds, but how much at each feeding. Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, my co-host on Cat Chat®, suggests giving cats as much as they will eat in a 15 minute mealtime. Cindy can try feeding them a bit more to see whether that doesn’t calm their appetite. I’m not trying to break her piggy bank, but often a cat who gets as much as she wants at a meal will not feel so frantic and will soon walk away from an uneaten portion of that food (which can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for the next meal). Although this may mean a higher food bill, there will be a big savings in health. By feeding the obligate carnivore the quantity she wants of food at two meals — and making sure it is high quality — you will be ensuring their health and investing in nutritional wellness, instead of spending money on the vet bills that can be the result of poor feeding practices. Getting the best quality food you can manage for your kitties will result in happier, healthier cats who will live longer. And that — as the ad says — is priceless.

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credits: dailywishes via photopin cc & nix-pix via photopin cc

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Halo’s Healthy Weight Challenge: Keeping Up The Loss During Week 7!

Faith, on Halo's Healthy Weight Loss ChallengeHalo’s Healthy Weight Challenge: Keeping Up The Loss During Week 7!

Guest blog by Dr. Donna Spector

Faith’s new food plan was just what the doctor ordered—she shed another 0.6 pounds this week. She is now 62.8 pounds after just 7 weeks!

Faith’s “prescription” for weight loss was to lose between 1 and 2% of her body weight each week. As Faith initially weighed 68 pounds, this calculated to be between 0.68 to 1.36 pounds per week.

To be considered “on target” at the 7 week mark, Faith should be weighing in with between 4.5 and 9.5 pounds of weight loss. With this week’s weigh-in—she is right on track at 5.2 pounds! If Faith keeps up this pace of weight loss, it will take her between 24 and 30 weeks to lose all her unwanted weight!

Congratulations to Faith and her mom—we are more than half way through the Healthy Weight Challenge!

Faith is the second participant enrolled in the Halo Healthy Weight Challenge on THE EXPERT VET of the RADIO PET LADY NETWORK. Faith is eating a specially designed meal plan of Halo Healthy Weight natural dog food and extra fruits and veggies to help her get back to a thin and trim weight.

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Halo’s Healthy Weight Challenge Week 6: Back On Track

Faith, on Halo's Healthy Weight Loss ChallengeHalo’s Healthy Weight Challenge: Back On Track During Week 6!

Guest blog by Dr. Donna Spector

After Faith’s weight gain during Week 4 we took another look at her calories and cut her back by another 5%. Remember:  whenever your vet creates a weight loss plan—is just a starting point—a best guess. Don’t be disappointed—the plan may need to be adjusted as time goes on—which is why the weekly weigh-ins are so important.

Faith also started to tire of her zucchini during week 5 so we gave some other low calorie options for her mom to substitute. These fresh fruits and veggies provide about 40 calories per serving (measure on a gram weight kitchen scale for accuracy):

  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) green peas
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) cubed sweet potato
  • 1 cup (100 grams) steamed broccoli
  • 1 cup (100 grams) steamed or raw carrots
  • 2/3 cup (68 grams) blueberries
  • 2/3 – ¾ cup (80 grams) raw apple
  • 2/3 – ¾ cup (100 grams) cantaloupe

Faith didn’t get a week 5 weigh-in but week 6 brought a celebration—she had lost another 2.4 pounds in the past 2 weeks!

Faith’s mom reports she loves the raw apple and we will look forward to continued good news next week!

Faith is the second participant enrolled in the Halo Healthy Weight Challenge on THE EXPERT VET of the RADIO PET LADY NETWORK. Faith is eating a specially designed meal plan of Halo Healthy Weight natural dog food and extra veggies to help her get back to a thin and trim weight.

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

The #1 Way to Undo the Good of Feeding Canned Cat Food

cat at food bowl

The #1 Way to Undo the Good of Feeding Canned Cat Food

Have you been following my advice to feed only the highest quality canned food to your cats? Have you chosen a food high in good quality protein and low in carbohydrates? Good for you! But wait! Have you been “cheating” on your cat by picking up kitty junk food in the supermarket and then feeding her addictive cat treats made of god-knows-what ingredients?! Uh-oh.

Kathleen in Carson, California wrote to say that “After listening to your shows we feed grain-free canned food. But we still have health issues!”

Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, my co-host on CAT CHAT®, has been helping me get kitties like Kathleen’s to kick the dry food habit and embrace good canned food for their cats. But somehow we never made it clear that the treats they might be sneaking to their pussycats do just as much harm as poor food choices.

Kathleen went on, “We now have a serious problem because my cat’s urinary pH is too high and the vet says she needs more acidity to minimize or eliminate crystals in her bladder and urinary tract and wants her to eat the dry prescription food he sells.” Kathleen added, “My cat’s doctor questions my parenting because I don’t want to feed her the dry prescription food that has both grain and by-products. How do I increase the acidity in her urine? What food or supplement will do this? Please help, I love my baby, and I’m tempted to feed her what the doctor is pushing just so she won’t hurt.”

What Else Is Her Cat Eating?

Dr. Elizabeth was a real Sherlock Holmes when she asked the $64,000 question: what else is Kathleen feeding her kitty besides the canned food? Dr. Hodgkins said, “A meat based diet will produce a normal urine pH. Sometimes owners are feeding highly processed carbohydrate snack foods that are engineered to be very addictive. The owner sees the cat’s positive reaction and keeps giving snack food treats to a cat like this, not realizing that those can contribute to the health issues, too. Freeze dried meat treats like Halo Liv-a-Littles or small pieces of actual meat, chicken or cheese are the only treats a cat should be getting besides their canned diet.”

Kathleen replied, “I am eternally grateful for the advice, and now am a bit sheepish because my Valentine goes crazy for those soft, chewy, brightly colored treats from the supermarket. My Val has us trained: I take my vitamins in the morning and she gets a treat. Bed time? I take a pill — Val? yep she wants her pills too. We’re leaving the house for the day? Oh yeah, treat time, You see where I’m going with this. Meanwhile, I’ll switch my sweet Val to healthy Liv-a-Little freeze dried meat snacks, even though she was more interested in the junk food commercial treats. Tracie, this is an important message to your listeners: if you’re doing the right thing with their food, you can sabotage and undermine it with ‘just a little treat,’ that has been crafted to get a cat hooked.”

Choosing Healthful Kitty Treats

Dr. Elizabeth recommended, “Encourage Kathleen to crumble a freeze dried treat on the canned food at first to get her kitties accustomed to the differences in odor and texture between a natural meat treat and a highly processed one.

“This will, I would bet money, get them switched to the better treats in a short time. And she could try several of the meat types since some cats show definite preferences for chicken over beef, or salmon. Of course, if they don’t warm up to them right away, they really won’t suffer by not having treats. Sure, we like to show love through food, for our pets and our human loved ones, but that does not mean they are necessary for good health. Feeding a very low carb all meat diet is the best ‘treat’ you can give your kitty for a long, healthy life.”

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: NCBrian via photopin cc

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

The Pig Pet Idea Project: Plausible or Unimaginable?

pig in water, leaning against boat

The Pig Pet Idea Project: Plausible or Unimaginable?

Guest Blog: Jordan Walker admires people who have the guts to keep exotic pets in their homes. He loves sharing tips on how to be a better pet parent at Coops And Cages and in blogs such as this one. In this article, he will be discussing getting a pig as a pet.

Oink, oink, oink inside the house over a meow, meow, meow, or an arf, arf, arf? When you think you’ve seen people buying expensive pets as an additional member to their families, now the meal you usually eat on your plate could also be made into a pet. George Clooney and Miley Cyrus do make it look like it is very easy to have a pet pig. But will you be able to grow in love with this unusual pet just like you would when looking into the eyes of a furry canine or feline pal?

How Are Pigs As Pets?

Choosing a pet is a combination of finding the right personality match, excelling in the intelligence test, and of course, the social test where this will is expected to win miss or mister congeniality award. Will the pet pig be able to pass all with flying colors? Here are some of their known positive characteristics:

people with their pet pigs

  1. They can get along with other pets. If you have seen a picture of a dog and a cat snuggling together in their sleep, can you imagine a mini pig having the same affectionate relationship with your own cat or dog. Probably not, but it’s not impossible. Pigs can be very friendly and will easily make friends with the other pets inside the house. And with them, it usually is a two-sided relationship. Other pets just can’t help but love them.
  2. Have a happy personality. They are not so complicated and do not have the same type of snobbish personality compared to some cat breeds. Pigs know how to have a great time. Playing could be one of the things that they love to do. With this said, be ready for a little adventure yourself too. They will keep you up on your toes.
  3. Smarter than you think. Whoever said that they are nothing but stinky animals that are best butchered for some tasty ham? Did you know that they could be litter trained too? And you thought that toddlers toggling with the computer are pretty impressive. Wait until you see a pig sneak up and pull a trick at you. Try teaching it to do usual dog tricks such as play dead, fetch, and bow before an audience. You might be in for a big surprise.
  4. Have the runway strut. Miniature dogs usually carried by the fashionable ladies are usually dressed in matching outfits with that of the owner. Bet a mini pig can’t do it in style? Well, they have just the right strut and putting on a colorful headband or a girly tutu skirt is as easy as a girl wearing a red lipstick or a black dress.
  5. Better than a backstabbing friend. You can never really tell is a friend is indeed a true friend until they stab you right at the back. And even if they don’t now, the chances of getting into a conflict will always be there. But not with a pig. A pet pig will love you for what you have (and what you don’t), and even accept you even when you have the unusual habit of putting too much pepper in the soups you cook even if the other people in the house hate it.
  6. Can sense danger. Several accounts have been reported where pigs were able to save the lives of their owners. If you want a hero on board, get and train a pig. This can potentially save you in the events of heart attack, fire burglary, and drowning. Don’t discount the snorting. It’s not a useless being. If you need a guard pet, a pig as a pet could also make as a good guard pig.
  7. Will never be a picky eater. Staying healthy is impossible for someone who only chooses to eat certain types of foods. Some dog owners report that their pets are picky eaters. Well, it’s a pig. It usually eats anything just as long as it’s edible.
  8. Knows how to enjoy finer things. Planning on taking a vacation on one of the exotic beaches at the Bahamas? Take along your pet pig with you. It knows how to enjoy tanning like a real bikini babe and comes close to Michael Phelps with its swimming prowess. It could even end up conquering the house pool if it needs to cool itself down during the hotter days.

Should You Get One?

After seeing their positive traits, pigs look cool as pets now, don’t they? But is it the right pet for you? Before saying yes, you ought to know their downsides too:

various pet pigs

  1. You will need a lot of space. You can’t keep a pig in an apartment. They need to exercise and the outdoors is the best place to get this done.
  2. It can get really big. Mini pigs are often recommended as pets compared to other breeds because you can control the extent of their growth through diet. But if you are someone who can’t resist feeding your pet throughout the day, you could end up living with a very heavy pet later on.
  3. Could become territorial. You will not have problems getting along with it since it is your pet after all. But it could be rude to people and try to protect its territory. Socialization as a piglet is needed in order to prevent this problem.
  4. Your garden could be a thing of the past. They do not only like to eat the foods that you give them. They are naturally inclined to eat plants to. Your garden could end up as dinner for a pet pig.
  5. Grumpier as an adult. Pigs are generally friendly when they are younger. But just like dogs, their enthusiasm could experience a dip once they become older.

Final Thoughts

So you think you’re ready for the porkier life? Be warned though. Ham may not look so appetizing after getting a pet pig. As a consolation, your pet pig really won’t mind if you still like to eat one of its relatives during dinner.

Jordan WalkerAuthor: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages

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