A few years ago, the pet loving world went crazy over the micro-pig trend.

Sometimes called “teacup pigs” or “mini-pigs,” micro-pigs were advertised as adorably tiny pigs that could fit within a teacup or be held in the palm of your hand.

The tiny pig trend gained such popularity that it was featured on mainstream television shows like How I Met Your Mother. Superstars like Victoria Beckham and Paris Hilton were among those who adopted them as pets – only to discover these pigs aren’t really so “micro” after all.

As it turns out, micro-pigs are just baby potbelly pigs meaning they grow to over 60 pounds within the first year – and might eventually reach weights of over 100 pounds! Sadly, many owners fail to do their homework and, after falling for the false claims of unethical breeders, they eventually end up surrendering their 60-pound house pets (or apartment pets). In the most heartbreaking situations, some pigs are released into the wild to run free, where they may meet a tragic fate.

The important lesson for all pet owners reading this is: situations like this can easily be avoided by doing your proper research before adopting a pet.

If you’re considering getting a pet – whether a cat or a dog, a guinea pig or a potbelly pig – it’s important to be a responsible future pet owner. Start by asking yourself a few questions to determine which type of pet (and which breed) might be best for you:

  • How large is your home?
  • Do you have the time, energy, and money to devote to a high-maintenance pet that would need more attention and care throughout the day?
  • If your desired type of pet requires a lot of time outdoors in nature, do you have a yard that is big enough to accommodate it?
  • If you don’t have a yard, is there a pet-friendly park or beach nearby that you could use instead?
  • What types of activities are you interested in doing with your future pet?
  • Do you have any allergies? If so, what are they? Could your pet potentially make them worse?
  • Cleaning up after your pet is inevitable, so would you rather scoop poop out of the yard or out of a litter box?
  • Does your neighbourhood or apartment complex have particular regulations on the types of pets you can or can’t have?
  • Do you want to adopt a young or elderly pet?

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a specific type of pet – such as a cat or dog, for example – you’ll want to consider which breed is best for you. Some people prefer a purebred, while others prefer a mixed breed. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including your home environment, your activity level, and your personality – among other things.

Any local humane society, veterinary office, grooming salon, or pet store could tell you that there are far too many pets surrendered each year because their owners were unprepared for what they were getting into.

It’s always worth the extra bit of effort to do your research before bringing home a pet – no matter how cute and cuddly it might be. This way you’ll rest easy knowing you’ve made the best decision.