It is suspected that because of many years of inbreeding the
tusks of many breeds of pigs have become warped and sometimes
will grow in such a way as to eventually injure the pig. This
might be true. It also might be that in the wild a male pig's
tusks are constantly worn down from grazing and fighting while
pigs in captivity do not have this option. Whatever the cause, it
is our job as the caretakers of pigs to properly care for them
and trim their tusks before they get too long and cause problems
for the pig.
When tusks in the lower jaw get too long they start to curve back
toward the face and rub away the fine hairs on the face. If they
are not trimmed they will keep on growing and actually puncture
the face and cause serious infections. If allowed to continue to
grow they will puncture the upper jaw bone. This will obstruct
their eating, is very painful, and can lead to the pig's death.
If a pig's lower jaw tusks grow straight up they will rub against
the top of his mouth making it sore, causing infection and
obstruct eating. That is very painful as well.
Top tusks can grow so that they curl back around the jaw and
puncture the pig's face. Top tusks can also grow too close to the
jaw, causing the tusks to puncture the gums and bone as the pig
chews. If your piggy's upper tusks are not visible in the mouth
you need to peel back the upper lip to get a good look at them.
Your pig's tusks should be cut. If you can not cut them then have
your veterinarian cut them. Most veterinarians have not cut pig
tusks before, so have some reference material available for your
veterinarian before taking your pig to him or her for the
A pig's tusks should be regularly trimmed every few years to
prevent the tusk from becoming a health risk. Between trimmings,
be aware of your pig's habits so that if anything changes in his
behavior you will know to look for something out of the ordinary
such as a tusk that is broken or growing strangely. This gives
your piggy a better chance of surviving and prevents a lot of
pain and sickness.
If you do not have your pig's tusks trimmed regularly it is not
only a health risk to your piggy but to you, other people and
other animals. Mis-grown tusks are painful, and if your pig is in
pain it is more likely to lash out at someone or something, which
means that you can get stabbed by these tusks as well.
Proper mouth hygiene and regular trimming of your male pig's
tusks is necessary to your pig's health. Please see a
veterinarian regularly and have your veterinarian give
vaccinations and check your pig's mouth to make sure that the
tusks are not causing any problems or needing to be trimmed. Your
piggy will thank you for it.
Keeping Pigs as Pets