More and more American animal lovers are keen on small pigs, generally called miniature pigs or pot-bellied pigs, as pets. These little creatures bring various benefits to their owners due to their friendliness, affectionateness, and companionship. Those benefits are sufficient reasons why they can make great emotional support animals (ESAs), even if there are different arguments in relation to this view. Read on to find out whether your curly-tailed friend can be registered as an emotional support animal.
In this article
1. Can a Pig be an Emotional Support Animal?
We know emotional support animals provide emotional comfort to someone with a mental illness. Plus, there are no limiting rules for the ESA species, so the cute pot-bellied pigs are ideal options of emotional support animals. People who suffer from mental health disorders, such as anxiety and panic attacks, can benefit from the emotional support of pet pigs. ESA pigs are given certain special rights under the law because of the key role they play in improving their owners' mental health. For example, through the Fair Housing Act, they are allowed reasonable accommodations in no-pet housing if you can prove the pig is required as an ESA over the traditional dog.
2. Benefits and Requirements of an Emotional Support Pig
2.1. ESA pigs provide the owner with emotional comfort
Pigs generally have a lovely temperament and a docile personality. They love to be scratched, cuddled, massaged and accompanied by their owners. What is more, they are sometimes playful and mischievous, so the fun they create can make their owner more positive and happy. Therefore, emotional support pigs can help us to reduce anxiety and remove negative emotions. Make sure your household pig is amiable and not aggressive when touched if you intend to register it as an ESA.
A pig is a kind of highly socialized creature that can play and bond with you and your families for a whole day. Besides, pigs and cats can get along well. However, dogs always attack pigs because they are the natural prey of dogs. It is strongly recommended that you get two pigs, as the companionship will make a pig emotionally healthier.
Pigs need outdoor walks and activities like dogs. Therefore, you should regulate your daily routine so that it can its outdoor exercise, especially if you live in a property without a private backyard. Romping around with your pot-bellied friend will give you extra exercise and the opportunity to connect with other people, allowing you to stay fit and improve your social skills. A leashed pig on the sidewalk can attract much attention and form a topic of conversation with passers-by. Some well-trained ESA pigs help their owners to overcome social anxiety disorders. Before walking your pig, make sure your ESA pig has undergone relevant training and behaves well in a crowded place.
2.3. Miniature pigs have a perfect stature
Pot-bellied pigs only become as tall as a dog at the age of five. Therefore, these mini-creatures are suitable for living in an apartment or a narrow living space. Also, ESA pigs can sleep with their owner in the same bed or lie on the couch to calm the emotions of the owner. Some landlords or hotels reject oversized emotional support animals, such as large-sized dogs and peacocks, although they are aware that the ESAs have the right to stay with their owners. The main reason is that landlords or managers must consider the sensitivity of other residents/guests as well as the safety of the facility. Pigs are therefore among the ideal ESA animals that can enter the building with a “no pets” rule.
Additionally, miniature pigs can be kept in a kennel or crate so they can be transported more easily in a car or an aircraft than a large creature.
2.4. Pigs are trainable
Most pigs are well-behaved and intelligent to learn specific training. They are also easy to train with some treats (such as fruits), similar to dog training. A well-trained pig can walk on a leash and sit in a car as a passenger, which is also one of the requirements of an ESA pig. In contrast, a poorly trained pig meanders along and investigates every scrap of litter on the sidewalk, as pigs have a restless appetite and are constantly searching for food. You have to spend a lot of time to correct this behavior.
3. Pigs as Therapy Animals
Mini pigs are incredibly smart and sensitive animals, which make them popular candidates for emotional support animals as well as therapy animals. Here Meets Lilou — The World's First Airport Therapy Pig. LiLou is a therapy pig certified by San Francisco's Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF SPCA), who joined the "Wag Brigade" at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) more than three years ago, de-stress passengers and airport staff. To no one's surprise, LiLou with a stable temperament, good manners, and a friendly personality certainly attracts a crowd.
With its sweet nature and the constant willingness to be cuddled by people, your household pig can make a great emotional support animal. The average lifespan of a pig is 12 to 15 years, so it can be a long-term companion for you but also require a lot of care and attention like a pet.