Do Pigs Have Teeth?

Have you ever seen a pig smiling their cute, little smile and wondered if they have teeth? Here, we take a look at everything you ever wanted to know about pig’s teeth! 

Do pigs have teeth? Pigs do have teeth! Adolescent pigs (pigs that are not considered piglets but are still under the age of one year) have 28 teeth, with 14 of them being permanent teeth. Adult pigs have 44 teeth. Most pigs will have all of their adult teeth by the age of two, but it varies from pig to pig.  

Do Pigs Have Teeth?
Do Pigs Have Teeth?

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Do piglets have teeth? 

Piglets, or baby pigs, are born with what is called “needle teeth.” These teeth are like baby teeth and will eventually fall out. They have eight needle teeth – four of them are incisors and four of them are canine teeth.  

Pig farmers and pig raisers will often clip these teeth the day that they are born because these teeth can cause injuries to their littermates and the mother pig. Sometimes, piglets will rough house with their littermates, which can result in cuts (especially on the ears) that may get infected if not cared for properly.

Sows (the mother pigs) may even refuse to feed a piglet if their teeth are too sharp or cutting into her udders. The clipping of their teeth does not cause any pain to the piglet, although they may squeal from being held. Disinfected side cutters are used to cut these teeth, and they are cut about halfway down. Sometimes, these teeth are also called “wolf teeth.” 

Pig showing its teeth
Pig showing its teeth

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Are the tusks on pigs considered teeth? 

Both male and female pigs grow tusks. They usually start to develop tusks at the age of two or three, but each pig is different. And these tusks are considered teeth! Tusks are simply just the pig’s canine teeth. Pigs use these tusks to root around, mark their territory, defend themselves against predators, and even to kill prey. Like all of the teeth that pigs have, tusks contain nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue. Upper tusks in male pigs usually grow out and curve upwards, whereas the upper tusks in female pigs tend to grow out more straight and go downward. 

Pigs also have a set of lower tusks. In male pigs, the lower tusks will grow throughout the pig’s life, at varying speeds. A female pig’s low tusks, on the other hand, will stop growing at about three to four years of age.  

Why do pigs grind their teeth? 

It is common for pigs to grind their teeth. Why is that? Pigs will grind their teeth for a variety of reasons, such as pain, stress, anxiety, and even contentment. Some pigs will even grind their teeth out of boredom, much like how people may fidget with their hands or twirl their hair when they are bored. If you think this is the case, it is best to provide simulating activities for your pig. 

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Pigs may grind their teeth more frequently when they are teething (when they are going from one set of teeth to another) because teething is a bit uncomfortable. Grinding their teeth puts some pressure on their gums which makes them feel a bit better.  

What do pigs eat? 

Have you ever wondered if pigs actually do eat slop? Well slop is like junk food for pigs. Instead, pigs on a farm will often eat “rations.” Rations is a mixture that can be bought just like buying a bag of dog food. Some hog farmers will even make their own mixture of food. These pigs will often eat a diet that is full of corn, soybeans, wheat, and sorghum.  

Pet pigs will also often eat a rations like mixture as well as vegetables like lettuce, peas, broccoli, and beans, fruits like apples, grapes, and raisins, and unsalted nuts. Pet pigs may also get some eggs a few times a week.  

Pet pig
Pet pig

Wild pigs are “opportunistic eaters,” which means they will eat just about anything they can find. For the most part, they will eat plant matter, but they will also eat invertebrates like worms and insects. Pigs in the wild may also eat small mammals, newborn mammals, and bird or reptile eggs that they can find.