Pigs are susceptible to heat stress and sunburn. As a general rule pigs are comfortable in temperatures that humans are comfortable in.
On very warm days, or if you live in a warm climate, you will need to provide shade for your pig. Trees can provide them with shade; as can access to a cool building such as a barn or stable. If you have neither then you will have to build something for them. You cannot let them go without, it could kill them.
You should also provide your pig with some sort of wallow; a children’s paddling pool, dug into the ground, makes an excellent wallow – just make sure the sides aren’t too steep or high, the pig needs to be able to get in and out easily or they’ll be reluctant to use it.
A simple wallow can be made by wetting an area of ground and creating a large, muddy puddle. Pigs do not need mud to wallow, they just need a cool pool of some sort. A muddy wallow does have the benefit of being better for their skin though. The mud helps prevent the pig from insect bites and sunburn, it also helps moisturise their skin.
Make your pig a wallow during the hot days – they will love you for it, trust me.
When a pig becomes too warm they will get heat stress. This is a very serious condition. A pig suffering from heat stress will usually be lying down panting. The panting will increase over time and, if left untreated, will result in the animal’s death. If you suspect your pig is suffering heat stress it is critical that you help the pig cool down and try to reduce its temperature. First, you should try to get the pig out of the sun, if possible. If you cannot do this then wet it with cool water, or spray it with a hose pipe. Soaking absorbent fabric, such as towels, in water and placing them on the pig is another way to bring its temperature down. Make sure that the fabric doesn’t dry out; they should always be full of water.
Always make sure your pig has access to fresh water. A lack of water on a warm day will increase the chance of heat stress happening. A lack of water will also cause salt poisoning as well.
Sunburn can be a problem on hot days. Usually most adult pigs have the common sense to keep themselves out of the hot sun, however young piglets, who are more prone to sunburn than older animals, may not be as smart.
If your pig develops sunburn you can treat this the same way as humans do – with calamine lotion or an after sun cream. Make sure that you move your animal out of the sun first, before treating them. Luckily pigs cannot lick most of their body, so you can safely apply creams without fear of them licking and ingesting them.
Pig oil is sometimes used on animals to prevent dry and flaky skin. It also helps maintain a healthy looking coat. Never apply pig oil to your animal on a hot day – it will fry them. Pig oil should be applied in the evenings, ideally before the pig retires to bed.