From the age of two weeks, Boris, my eldest potbelly resided in our house. Keeping a pig indoors isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I have to say apart from a minor problem where he ripped our kitchen carpet, he was perfectly well behaved.
What I did notice though, and quite a few people who, like myself, have pigs that live indoors have also commented on, around the age of 9 months he became a bit miserable at times and wanted to chew his toys. He had a strong piece of rubber pipe that he used to stand with chomping away for ages. Around this time I was stumped as to why he was behaving in this way. He didn’t have a temperature, he wasn’t off his food and he certainly seemed to be fit and healthy. Then I noticed that these episodes, although they never lasted long, coincided with him losing his first teeth and his new ones cutting through. After finding out when the first teeth are shed and the permanent ones are growing, it all fell into place. My poor little chap was teething like a human baby. Other people have also noted their pigs behaving like this when teething. Yes I did go off to the chemist and purchased some teething gel. I’m not really sure whether it did help but he seemed to like the taste and enjoyed having his gums rubbed.
Pigs usually start losing first teeth and growing permanent ones from the age of 5 months but this may vary slightly from pig to pig. The following is to show you when this may occur, but bear in mind all pigs may differ slightly.
Birth: The little pig has two pairs of sharp pointed teeth in each jaw, top and bottom, placed so there is a distinct space between each pair. These are the two temporary tusks and the two temporary corner incisors. These are the only teeth present at this time, although some of the temporary molars can be felt through the gums.
1 Month: The two central incisors, which are broader than the tusks are cut also three molars come through the gums.
2 Months: Temporary central incisors are fully through and there are signs of the eruption of the laterals.
3 Months: The lateral temporary incisors are well through, and the temporary molars are well in wear.
5 Months: There are signs of the cutting of the premolars and the fifth molar (a permanent) is seen behind the temporaries.
6 Months: The premolars are cut, and the fifth permanent molar is in wear.
7-8 Months: There are signs of the cutting of the corner permanent incisors. The permanent tusks may also be cutting at this time.
9 Months: Corner permanent incisors are well through as are the permanent tusks. In many cases one or two temporary tusks may still be in position at this time. The tusks will be more developed in the male sometimes reaching a length of 3-4 inches on the upper jaw and as much as 8 inches on the lower jaw of an aged boar. The tusks of females do not develop to this size.
1 Year: Generally the central permanent incisors are cut, a large number of pigs do not cut these teeth until they are around 13 months old. The 6th permanent molar is cut. Just after 1 year the three temporary molars fall out and their places are taken by the permanents. They are in line with the other molar teeth three months later.
17-18 Months: When the final changes occur, the 7th molar, the last permanent molar tooth and the lateral permanent incisors are cut. Now your pig will have all his permanent teeth, 44 in all. It has been found that there is a great variation in the hardness or the softness of the teeth so the rate of wear is irregular. A great deal depends on the nature of the food your pig eats, also if the pig has an undershot or overshot jaw then wear will be irregular. Many boars when fighting break their tusks. An adult pig will not have a mouth full of white shining even teeth like a film star.
It is important to remember though at any age your pig could have a mouth problem, just as we humans do. It is especially important to seek expert advice if your pig is showing signs of pain, difficulty in eating his food, swelling around the jaw area or losing permanent teeth.
Used With Permission From The Potbellied Pig Club, England