Dry skin is a problem many people and their pets battle, especially during the winter. Potbellied pigs lack the fur that many of our other mammalian exotic pets have and are also prone to dry skin but not all products to combat dryness are safe to use on them.
Most pigs have what we would consider dry skin and it's not necessarily problematic but if your pig is itchy it may indicate a bigger problem. Make sure your pig's diet is appropriate, your house isn't too arid, bathe them only when necessary, and occasionally apply lotion to your pig and you shouldn't need to do to anything more to keep their skin healthy and hydrated.
One of the most common reasons for dry skin in potbellied pigs is a lack of humidity in their environment. Potbellied pigs spend the majority of their lives indoors where our houses are purposely kept dry to avoid mold issues. Due to the lack of humidity in the environment though, pot-bellied pigskin can suffer the consequences and dry out. Dry outside air can also contribute to dry skin if your pig spends time outdoors.
Another common reason for dry skin is a skin parasite infestation. Mites, also often referred to as mange, are common in pet pigs. These itchy ectoparasites will cause rough, scaly skin and your pig will be very itchy. The skin will often become red, inflamed, and may even bleed if your pig scratches hard enough.
A poor diet can also contribute to dry skin on your pig. If your pig gets a lot of junk food and lacks the essential vitamins and minerals in their diet their skin may be dry. Nutrition plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including natural skin moisture.
Stripping natural moisture off of your pot-bellied pig's skin can also happen if you are using a harsh shampoo or bathing them too often.
Depending on the reason for your pot-bellied pig's dry skin you should be able to easily remedy the issue. If the flaking is mild and more of an annoyance for you than a health problem for your pig, you can simply take a wet towel and wipe away the excess skin flakes weekly. If you want to bathe your pot-bellied pig on occasion, an oatmeal-based or coconut oil-based pet shampoo is safe to use and is non-drying.
If your pig's dry skin is bad enough that you need to do something about it, you can start by using a lotion. An aloe-based lotion or Avon Skin So Soft™ are popular options with potbellied pig owners. Coconut oil can also be liquefied and applied to their skin.
Increasing the humidity in the environment in which your pig lives is a simple solution to battle dry skin as well. If you can't increase the humidity in your entire house, room humidifiers are good options for areas where your pot-bellied pig spends most of its time.
If a dietary issue is suspected as the cause of your pig's dry skin, make sure your pig is getting a large variety of vegetables, a small amount of fruit, and a formulated pig food daily. If after making a dietary change you find that the skin is not what you had hoped for, you can add in some vitamin E oil to their food. 200 IU's of vitamin E is an often recommended amount and you should be sure not to give your pig too much of this fat-soluble vitamin. Otherwise, look into purchasing a supplement designed for potbellied pigs with omega-3 fatty acids in them.
If skin mites are causing dry skin you must get rid of the mites before you will see an improvement in skin health. Ivermectin or doramectin treatments will be needed to effectively rid your pig of those pesky mange mites. Some people opt to treat at home by purchasing medication from a farm supply store or online while others prefer to have their exotics vets provide the treatments.