Potbellied pigs love to eat, and if you let them, they'll overeat and become obese in no time. Obesity is a major health problem for potbellied pigs, just like it is for people, so you need to monitor your pet's weight. Here are four things potbellied pig owners need to know about obesity.

How else can you tell if your pig is obese?

There is no one-size-fits-all guideline regarding the weight of potbellied pigs; just like people, their ideal weight will vary based on their height, frame size and other factors. However, as a general rule, your pig shouldn't weigh more than 125 to 150 pounds. If your pig is smaller than average, their ideal weight will be lower.

If you don't have access to a suitable scale for weighing your pig, you can estimate if they're a healthy weight by looking at them. Here are some visual clues that your pig is at a healthy weight:

  • Their shoulder bones and hip bones aren't visible;

  • Their body looks like a cylinder when viewed from above;

  • Their belly isn't touching the ground.

Here are some visual clues that your pig is obese:

  • Fat deposits are blocking their eyes and making it hard for them to see;

  • Their body looks round when viewed from above;

  • Their belly touches the ground;

  • They are too tired to run and play.

Why is obesity bad for potbellied pigs?

Most of the health problems that potbellied pigs develop are related to their diet. Your obese pig may be at risk of the following health problems:

  • Heart disease;

  • Blindness;

  • Arthritis;

  • Deafness;

  • Heat stress;

  • Increased risk of post-surgical complications;

  • Chronic pain.

How can you prevent obesity?

To help your pig avoid obesity, feed them a healthy diet of specially-formulated pig pellets, fruits and vegetables. Steer clear of commercial hog feeds, as these are designed to fatten up pigs quickly.

It's also important to make sure that your pig gets the opportunity to exercise. They can exercise in a pig pen, a fenced backyard, or even in a spare room. The important thing is just they have room to run, play, and burn off some of the calories they've eaten.

How can your vet help?

If your pig is obese, and a healthy diet and some exercise isn't helping, your vet can offer additional guidance. They can give you a diet plan for your pig to follow. They can also investigate to make sure there are no underlying health problems contributing to your pig's obesity.

For more information, contact Foothills Animal Hospital or a similar location.