Pig Lifespan: Factors That Shorten Your Pigs Life Expectancy

Dietary Requirements for a Long Lifespan for Your Pet Pig is natural foods DLX2 PS

My son’s friend was heartbroken last week when his pet pig died unexpectedly. One of the hardest aspects of having pets is having something happen that causes the pet to die. Since my son also wants a pet pig, I wanted to know how long pigs live. If we get a pet pig, I want to make sure it won’t die within a few years. 

What is the average pig lifespan? The average pig lives between 15-20 years if raised in a healthy environment and allowed to die naturally. Larger pig breeds average between 10-15 years of lifespan, and most domesticated pigs are slaughtered before they live out their natural lives. Commercial pigs are usually slaughtered around 6 months old. 

It turns out that how long pigs live to depend greatly on their breed and how they are raised. I’ll explain.

Different Pig Breeds Live For Different Numbers of Years

Each pig lifespan will average differently, depending on the pig’s breed, if the pig has a healthy life, access to vet care, and a good diet and nutrition. Generally, pig breeds can range from an average lifespan of 5-10 years up to 15-20 years lifespan. 

How Long Do Mini Pigs Live? 

Mini-pigs, also referred to as pot-bellied pigs, have a lifespan of 14-21 years with an average of 15 to 18 years of longevity. A nutritionally complete diet and proper medical treatment are essential for ensuring that they live a long and healthy life. This includes routine veterinary checkups and immunizations against illnesses.

How Long Do Potbelly Pigs Live? 

Potbelly pigs have one of the longest lifespan of all pigs, living as much as 20+ years. On average, they live for 15-18 years in captivity. The oldest pig ever recorded was a potbellied pig who lived past its 23rd birthday! 

How Long do Teacup Pigs Live? (Lifespan of MicroPigs)

Teacup pigs, also known as micro pigs live an average of 5 years despite their status as a pet pig. That’s because teacup pigs are often inbred to produce smaller pigs and so have genetic difficulties. Another reason mini pigs lifespan is shorter is that micro pigs are usually starved so that they stay small and so basically spend their lives malnourished and underfed. This stress to their bodies compromises their health and dramatically shortens their life expectancy. 

Teacup pigs are unhealthy but mini pigs can live a long time

How Long Do Heford Pigs Live?

The average lifespan of a Hereford pig is between 10-15 years with most pigs living to the age of 12-13 years old. Hereford pigs are medium-sized pigs and live longer than larger breeds. Generally speaking the smaller the pig breed, the longer its lifespan. Hereford pigs grow to between 600-800 pounds at full maturity. 

How Long Do Durac Pigs Live?

An average Durac pig lifespan is that of 15 years. They used to be a larger breed, but breeding has brought the breed to a smaller size, that has increased the survival rate of piglets and lengthened how long they live. Duroc pigs now mature at 700-800 pounds, but before they were bred to be smaller, the breed usually topped 1,000 pounds before maturity. Today they are considered a medium-sized breed. 

How long does a KuneKune Pig Live?

KuneKune pigs can live up to 15-20 years, but if they are overfed or fat, they will  live an average of 8-10 years naturally. Kunekune pigs are smaller pigs that mature at about 150 pounds for a female and up to 250 pounds for a male. Unlike other smaller pig breeds, KuneKunds don’t have a longer lifespan if they become obese, which is easy to do because of their voracious appetite. 

Pig Lifespan Depends On Its Use In Life

Pigs live a very different life expectancy that depends heavily on the purpose for which they are raised. Pet pigs are often allowed to die a natural death and live their full lifespan. Farm and commercial pigs are only allowed to live for a few months. 

How Long Do Pet Pigs Live? 

Pet pigs have an average lifespan of 15-20 years. Some pet pigs have lived into their 20s, with the oldest living pig living 23 years and 17 days. A pet pig’s lifespan is longer than farm or commercial pigs because they get a higher quality of care.
Owners care for pet pigs with the love and attention that most people give to other pets. That means that unlike a farmer or a commercial piggery, a family with a pet pig will usually pay hundreds of dollars in vet bills, customize the pig’s diet for greater health, and spend more time and money making the pigs life a healthier, higher quality. 

Pig lifespan is longer for pet pigs

How Long Do Farm Pigs Usually Live?

Farm pigs are usually raised to around 9 months old. Commercial pigs are often slaughtered around 6 months. At 6 months commercial pigs weigh an average of 200-300 pounds. Farm pigs are often raised a little longer because their feed rate and growth speed is not as fast as commercial enterprises. 

Wild Pigs Live the Shortest Natural Life Of Any Pigs

Wild pigs live an average of 6-8 years due to the dietary stress, injuries, and added stress on them. Wild pigs don’t have diets that meet their nutritional needs, unlike domesticated pigs, so they aren’t as healthy. Additionally, pigs in the wild often suffer injury without care that can shorten their lifespan. Predators, limited resources, weather stress, and dietary deficiencies all contribute to the shorter lifespan of wild pigs. 

Factors Affecting a Pet Pig’s Lifespan

Numerous factors will affect a pig’s lifespan. As with most animals, disease and illness are prominent determining factors for longevity. So, if a pig gets sick, it is always possible to die prematurely. 

Ensuring your pet pig is healthy will extend their lifespan, therefore, it’s important to know the signs of pig diseases so you can help your pig. 

Pig Digestive Disorders Affect Pet Pig’s Life Expectancy

A pig is nature’s version of a vacuum cleaner, but that doesn’t help them live longer. They will eat anything. However, the problem is that pigs are not meant to eat everything. While it may seem suitable for pigs, some food can cause stomach upset and lead to digestive issues.

Pigs will eat almost anything, even if it’s not good for them. 

Pigs will eat foods that decrease their health and lower their longevity. A pig’s omnivorous diet can expose them to intestinal bacteria that could be harmful and lead to inflammation of the gut. This can shorten the pig’s lifespan as indigestion will require treatment with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication if needed. If your pig has managed to swallow something too large to pass through the digestive tract, this can lead to gastric obstruction or a ruptured intestine, proving fatal.  

Common pig digestive diseases. 

Pigs get digestive diseases that include Colibacillosis and cause early death. Colibacillosis is caused by E. coli bacteria and leads to diarrhea, and salmonella infection, which can cause bloody feces and weakness (and, if not treated, will lead to death).  

Pigs live longer when they have cleaner environments

Pet pigs may not drink enough water to stay healthy.

Dehydration can shorten a pig’s life. Water consumption may be low if pet pigs are kept indoors, leading to constipation if their gut dries out. If constipation isn’t treated quickly, it can lead to rectal prolapse, where sections of the gut protrude from the anus. This painful condition can cause secondary infections and septicemia and lead to death.

Bone and Muscular Disorders 

Overweight, fat, or obese pig’s live for fewer years than healthily-weighted pigs. Pigs are large animals. While not always a large size, most breeds will be heavy, negatively affecting their bones and joints. Plus, overfeeding or “fattening up” a pig will further exacerbate the issue, leading to chronic lameness, arthritis, and problems with movement.  

Lameness in Pigs Reduces Activity and Overall Health 

An injured or lame pig won’t move around as much, which can cause their health to decline rapidly. Lameness may result from an injury, such as when your pig tries to jump down some steps or falls and lands badly. The sheer weight of a large pig will contribute enough force to break front limbs and damage vertebrae in the back. While you can opt to have these injuries repaired, the long-term prognosis regarding their health and longevity is not good. 

Arthritis in Pigs

Pigs are also prone to arthritis, which can result from a bacterial infection or degeneration of the bones. In addition, the pig’s excessive weight will further worsen these painful conditions, ultimately shortening their lives.  

Poor Hoof Health: Believe it or not, you may need to get your local farrier out to trim your pet pig’s hooves. Pigs experience as much hoof growth as horses do, and while wild pigs self-maintain their hooves with the wear and tear of walking over rough terrain, domestic pigs don’t. Therefore, your pig’s hooves may crack or become infected if not kept to a short length. 

Tetanus in Pigs

Tetanus will shorten a pigs life by killing an infected pig that doesn’t get rapid treatment. The Clostridium tetani bacteria cause another disease that affects pigs, commonly known as tetanus. Signs of this infection are muscle stiffness and tremors.  Often, this disease can lead to death if left untreated. Therefore, inspect your pet pig for injuries and signs of infectious sites on their body, as this is where the tetanus virus enters their bloodstream. However, annual vaccinations will help prevent tetanus. 

Steps to Extend a Pig’s Lifespan is ensuring their happiness

Disease and Disorders Affecting the Brain and Spinal Cord

Several nervous system diseases can affect pigs, especially young piglets and cause early death. Constantly monitor your pet pig; you will usually pick up on these early, as your pig will have an elevated temperature or show physical signs of incoordination. 

Neurological Diseases in Pigs

If treated early with antibiotics, your pig has a good chance of surviving neurological conditions. However, these diseases often strike fast, and you may find your pet pig deceased in their crate or pen. 

Overheating in Pigs

Did you know that overheated pigs have a lower lifespan than pigs with ways to cool themselves down. Other reasons why pigs may die early include overheating. Pigs can’t sweat, which makes the saying “to sweat like a pig” quite ironic. So, if temperatures exceed 85°F and there is a high humidity factor, pigs won’t be able to control their internal temperature. This means your pig may quite literally boil in their own skin or suffer brain damage due to overheating. 

Salt Toxicity in Pigs

Pigs can also suffer from salt poisoning, which is deadly. This condition affects the brain when your pig’s fluid-salt balance is off. Pigs that have been denied water may suffer this condition, which will cause tremors, disorientation, blindness, and even brain damage. If your pig has experienced this condition, the only choices are to gradually rehydrate them (which may require your vet to administer an IV solution), or you may need to euthanize your pig.  

Respiratory Disease and Disorders

My son was rather shocked when she noticed how wet the pigs at the local piggery’s noses were on her first visit there. Pigs tend toward runny noses, but this can quickly turn to respiratory infections. 

Rhinitis in Pigs

Pig Rhinitis can affect your pig’s overall health and length of life. If your piglets start to sneeze, it could indicate the presence of rhinitis-causing bacteria. I was amazed to discover that this condition could lead to violent sneezing, nose bleeds, and distortion of the pig’s nostrils. Over time, the nostril distortion can affect the pig’s regular breathing. 

You can vaccinate against this disease, but the pregnant sow needs to be vaccinated for the piglets to have immunity. As can be expected, chronic rhinitis can cause serious health issues, which may shorten a pig’s lifespan. 

Pneumonia in Pigs

Infection of the soft tissue of the lungs can lead to pig pneumonia and shorten the natural life expectancy of your pig. The usual culprits are bacteria that are contracted from littermates, other pigs, and an unclean environment.  Luckily, there is a supportive treatment to relieve this severe infection, and antibiotics may help fight off these bacteria. However, a pig with pneumonia is in danger of dying.  

Swine Flu 

When the cause of the pneumonia isn’t bacterial but rather a virus, your pig will need to be treated immediately as swine flu is highly contagious and can be passed to humans. Seek the help of your vet immediately, be careful, and take precautions when handling your pig. Also, wear gloves and wash your hands with medical-grade soap after handling your pet pig. 

Illness and Disease That Affects a Pet Pig’s Lifespan may be digestive disorder

Skin Conditions That Cause Poor Health

While pigs are naturally itchy and tend toward dry and flaky skin, they can also develop melanomas. These cancerous growths may or may not be malignant. 

Usually, they regress independently and don’t affect a pig’s lifespan. However, some melanomas may ultimately lead to early death.  

Diamond Skin

Far from being a fancy new skin tattoo, diamond skin, as it’s commonly called, is a contagious skin condition caused by a bacterial infection. In severe cases, this infection can spread throughout the pig, affecting their joints, heart, and lungs. Therefore, death often occurs if the disease runs its course without treatment. 

Should you be breeding pigs for slaughter, these affected pigs are not fit for human (or animal) consumption as the bacteria will spread to other animals too. If you suspect your pig has diamond skin, you need to contact your vet and isolate your pet pig to treat them. Administering antibiotics like penicillin is usually effective if the disease is in the early stages.

Urinary Tract Conditions That Could Cause Death

Calculi in Pigs

Calcified stones formed in your pig’s bladder and kidneys. In some cases, it can lead to an early death. Pigs can also develop painful urinary tract infections, leading to obstructions that may require surgical interventions. But having your pet pig screened annually with a urine test will help ensure they remain healthy. 

Overconsumption of Water by Pigs 

Usually caused by boredom. As a result of too much water in their digestive tract, pigs may urinate too frequently, losing precious nutrients and unbalancing their salt levels. 

Kidney Failure in Pigs

Usually affects older pigs. It can also occur if it hasn’t always enjoyed the best care or if they drink too much or too little water. Any of these urinary tract conditions could cause premature death to your pet pig.

How long pigs live depends on their environment and care it receives

Pig Lifespan FAQs

What is the average lifespan of a commercial pig? Commercial pigs have an average lifespan of 3 to 7 months before they are slaughtered. Most commercial pigs are slaughtered at between 6 and 7 months or 25 to 28 weeks. Yorkshire pigs are a hybrid pig raised specifically for it’s meat. While Yorkshire pigs can average a lifespan of 8-10 years, most do not make it that long as they are processed before they are a year old.  

How old is a 10-year-old pig in pig years? A ten-year-old pig is 54 years old in pig years. The first year of a pigs life is equivalent to 18 human years, and each year after that is the same as 4 human years. So a 10-year-old pig (in human years) is about 54 years old in pig years. Similar to a 54-year-old human, a 10-year-old pig is a little over half of it’s expected lifespan. 

Do pigs make good housepets? Mini pigs can make great housepets if trained and socialized from a young age. Mini pigs are gaining popularity as house pets. They are smarter than dogs and can be litter trained. Pigs can learn tricks, bond with human owners, and become a beloved part of the family.  

How long do pigs live in captivity? Pigs raised in captivity, either as a pet or as a breeding pig often live 5-10 years, although some captive pigs can live up to 23 years. The breed of the pig will impact how long it will live with potbellied pigs living the longest of any pig breed. Teacup pigs often only live between 5-10 years because of their compromised health. 


It’s great to know that we can get a pet pig that can live a long healthy life. Ultimately we decided to wait and see if my son’s interest in a pet pig lasted before we committed to a pet pig that would need care for as much as two decades.


Public Med Central

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MSD Vet Manual

Potbellied Pigs disorders and diseases

Cesar Duran

I own a homestead with my wife and kiddos. I enjoy caring for our goats with my 14-year-old daughter, feeding our chickens with my 11-year-old, and fixing goat fences with my 8-year-old son. We have lots of various farm animals all of which my family love.

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