Can Mini Donkeys Be Kept as Pets?

Miniature donkeys have a look that’s captivated you. They’re adorable, short, fluffy, and they seem so sweet. That makes you wonder, can you legally have a mini donkey as a pet or would you get in trouble?

Yes, you can keep a mini donkey as a pet. In fact, Animal Planet cites a statistic from the National Miniature Donkey Association that found that, in the United States, three million people have equine animals like miniature donkeys as household pets.

If you want your very own miniature donkey now more than ever before, then make sure you don’t miss this article. In it, we’ll tell you all the facets of care you need to know before bringing your mini donkey home.

Can Mini Donkeys Be Kept as Pets?

As we mentioned in the intro, yes, you absolutely can have a miniature donkey as a pet. There’s no laws prohibiting it. Most of the time, to get your own mini donkey, you’ll end up buying one. You can also adopt them.

If you’re looking to buy one of these precious animals, you can always try a site like EquineNow. You can search by your state, the mini donkey breed, the color, its gender, height, age, and even the amount of money you’re willing to spend.

How Big Do Miniature Donkeys Grow?

Miniature donkeys have earned their name because of their height, not their size. At their tallest, they grow to about three feet. That’s not too bad, as most bigger dog breeds are taller. When it comes to weight though, a fully-grown mini donkey can surprise you. On the lower end, these animals may weigh 200 whopping pounds. Bigger donkeys can clock in at nearly 400 pounds!

Remember then, if you adopt a mini donkey, you have to prepare to care for it throughout its whole life (which can last up to 30 years). It won’t stay small and cute forever. With time, it’ll get quite large and heavy.

What Do These Animals Eat?

Despite their name, mini donkeys eat like any other donkey twice their size or greater. They require grains and hay as their main diet components. You should feed them twice a day and spend about an hour doing this. Like with any pet, do not overfeed your miniature donkey. On that note, limit grain feedings to prevent them from gaining too much weight.

Keep certain foods off-limits, too, such as pellet pet food, horse food, nuts, fruits, bread, and chicken feed.

You must also have a plentiful supply of fresh water available for your mini donkey. They can consume six or eight gallons of water each day, so give them more than that. Many mini donkey owners use a barrel or a tub to keep their pets hydrated.

What Size Enclosure Does a Mini Donkey Need?

Mini donkey experts recommend you have at least two acres of open space to your name for the animal. The grassier this land, the better. That’s because donkeys will graze on grass throughout the day. Doing so will keep them from getting colic or constipation. They’ll also have healthier intestines from this habit.

It’s best to keep your mini donkey in an enclosure. You should probably build one instead of buy one. That’s because not just any enclosure will do for a mini donkey. It needs to have three sides, with one open so the animal can graze when they feel like it. Make sure the opening points southward.

You should also consider fencing the enclosure so your donkey doesn’t run off. The animal is prone to doing that.

Regarding the size of the enclosure, your mini donkey needs room to move around freely. You can probably get away with a smaller space for them in their youth. As they grow or gain weight, though, you might need a horse-sized enclosure for keeping your pet.

Should They Stay Indoors or Outdoors?

While you can let your miniature donkey enjoy some inside time, they must spend several hours each day outside. Experts recommend letting them graze for four hours. Otherwise, they’ll come inside and crib all your stuff. When a mini donkey cribs, it chews up wood.

Your pet will destroy your furniture, tables, shelves, chairs, and any other wood items. Outside, your donkey could eat barns and fences. Never skip grazing, then!

Should Mini Donkeys Get Exercise?

Your mini donkey might love grazing on grass, but he or she needs physical activity, too. If you let your pet lead a sedentary lifestyle, they have a higher chance of developing conditions like laminitis. This often affects horses, but donkeys can get it, too.

With this condition, the foot bone loses its stability while the animal suffers in intense pain. Feeding your mini donkey too much too often can also cause laminitis, so watch out.

What Other Care Do These Pets Need?

Thus far, we’ve discussed diet, housing, and exercise. What else does your pet donkey need? Plenty.

On a three-month basis (sometimes two months), you’ll need to trim your donkey’s hooves. You can do this yourself or take them to a professional.

They also need to see a veterinarian every so often for vaccinations; talk to your vet about when and which shots. Prepare to spend at least an hour each day on grooming. This can include feet cleaning as well as giving your donkey a brushing.

Once each month (about three weeks), make sure you apply a delousing powder. This will keep your donkey free of lice. These insects quite like donkeys and their fur, so don’t miss a powder application. Also, never skip a fly repellant when keeping your miniature donkey outdoors. The roll-on stuff works particularly well.

You’ll have to have an equine dentist handy who can see your donkey every year or two. They’ll look for signs of equine disease during these appointments. Also, four times a year, you’ll get your mini donkey wormed by a vet. When they eat wild grasses, donkeys can unfortunately consume the feces of the worms. This makes them sick. Worms can also grow on or in your donkey, but not with regular deworming.

Will Your Mini Donkey Get Along with Other Pets?

If you have another pet, you may ponder how well they’ll mesh with your new miniature donkey. For instance, what about a dog? While some farm owners have had semi-domestic donkeys and dogs on the same property, not every pairing will get along so famously.

Most donkeys display a stubborn streak a mile wide. Dogs don’t and have much more malleable personalities. That doesn’t mean the two can’t ever be friendly, though. You’ll want to slowly acclimate the animals, letting them stay around each other for a few minutes at first. Then, gradually increase how much time they spend together.

Which Vets Will See Mini Donkeys?

Your miniature donkey requires a lot of pricy care, since you’ll need to take them to a veterinarian quite often. If you already have pets like cats or dogs, don’t expect your vet will necessarily see your donkey as well.

Miniature donkeys are considered exotic animals. You’ll have to seek out vets that accept these types of animals. Even still, most veterinarians consider exotic animals as turtles, snakes, rodents, parrots and other birds, lizards, and hedgehogs. You don’t see any mini donkeys on that list. Before you just assume a vet will treat your donkey, then, call and ask.

It can take some time before you find a vet that specializes in mini donkeys. Stay patient and keep searching, as your donkey cannot go without veterinary care.


You love pretty much everything about miniature donkeys. The good news? You can keep them as a pet legally. That said, there’s a lot of time, money, and care that goes into owning one of these animals. For one, you must expect that they’ll balloon in weight. Some weigh 350 pounds when fully grown!

You must also maintain a healthy diet for your mini donkey, give them plenty of fresh water, get them a suitable enclosure, and let them graze. They need exercise, deworming, hoof maintenance, and regular grooming. If you don’t mind doing all that, then you should look into getting a mini donkey of your very own. You’ll love the experience!

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