Donkeys are very sociable animals, and they like to spend time with their people. That’s why grooming sessions are so important part of the overall donkey care. Read on to learn more on how do you bathe a donkey & more.
What You'll Learn Today
Daily Grooming Schedule Is Important
It’s a good idea to establish a daily grooming schedule for your donkey. This gives you a chance to spend some quality time together, and it also gives you a chance to examine your pet thoroughly and notice any cuts, bruises, hoof problems and the like.
Donkeys really benefit from a daily grooming because they like to take a daily dust bath. This habit keeps them safer from flies and other parasites, but it also keep some rather dusty looking. Daily currying and brushing with a mud brush will help keep your donkey looking presentable.
What Tools Do You Need To Groom A Donkey?
Taking care of donkey can be expensive. Your basic equine grooming kit should consist of:
- A metal or plastic mane and tail comb
- A rubber or metal curry comb
- A stiff bristled mud brush
- A soft finishing brush
- Terrycloth rags
- A hoof pick
Begin grooming with the curry comb over the neck and body to remove loose dirt, mud and hair.
TIP: Always comb in the direction the hair grows. Contrary to popular belief, is not a good idea to curry in a circular motion. Never curry over legs because the skin here is very thin and there’s not enough padding to protect the bones against bruising.
After currying, brush your donkey’s neck, body, upper legs and mane and tail with the mud brush. Don’t use this stiff brush on the thin skin of the lower legs.
Comb your donkey’s mane and tail with the comb.
If your donkey has lots of dirt or mud on his face, ears and/or legs, use a dampened terrycloth rag to clean this away.
Finish up the entire body, ears, face and legs with the soft finishing brush.
Lift your donkey’s hooves one-by-one and clean them with the hoof pick. If you want to get fancy, wipe off the outsides of the hooves with a damp terrycloth and polish them up with a little baby oil.
If it’s fly season, finish off by applying fly spray all over. Use a terrycloth rag to apply it to the face and ears.
Should You Clip A Donkey?
Pet donkeys typically don’t need to be clipped, and if they have a thick shaggy coat in the wintertime, it’s because they need it. Generally speaking, you should not hurry shedding in a donkey. Just provide good, regular daily grooming and the hair will fall out as it needs to in the springtime.
If you show your donkey, you may need to clip him or her. If this is the case, be sure to provide a blanket during chilly weather. Otherwise, donkeys don’t need a blanket because their coats keep them warm.
How Do You Bathe A Donkey?
Donkeys don’t really need frequent baths, and they especially don’t need to be bathed in the wintertime. If your donkey is used to being groomed daily and is gentle to handle, you can just use the garden hose to wet all of the hair, wash with a gentle soap and then rinse with the hose.
Brush off excess water with a curry comb and then keep the donkey tied until he has dried. Otherwise, he will go right into the dirt and roll.
This presenter uses a bucket and sponges.
Donkey Bath Time
Some Donkeys Enjoy Being Sprayed To Keep Cool
If you live in a very hot environment, you may want to give your donkey a hosing down with plain water every day or two. Some donkeys enjoy this.
You would not want to give your donkey a full bath very frequently because even gentle soap strips the skin and coat of natural oils that help keep hair and skin healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions
A donkey left to his own resources can go without grooming indefinitely. He will roll in the water, mud, sand or grass as needed to brush away loose hair and coat him or herself with dust, dirt and mud to keep the flies off. Even so, leaving a pet donkey to his own resources is not a good idea. Remember that grooming is an important part of training and bonding. It’s smart to halter and handle your donkey every day and provide at least a minimal grooming. Go over his or her head, ears, mane, tail, body and legs with a medium bristle brush. Lift and clean all four hooves. Spray with fly spray as needed.
For the most part, regular brushing should be all your donkey needs to keep clean. Too much bathing strips the skin and coat of natural oils. Bathing in the wintertime can cause a chill and endanger a donkey’s health. In very hot climates, many donkeys like to be hosed off in the heat of the day, but this will not help keep the donkey clean. He will surely go straight from being hosed off to rolling in the dust to keep the flies off.
Natural oils produced by the sebaceous glands keep the skin and coat moisturized. When they are stripped away, your donkey may feel itchy and uncomfortable, and his coat may look rough. More importantly, he may be more subject to pest infestation, especially ticks. Researchers in Brazil and the UK have recently found that compounds found in extracts of donkey sebum act as a repellent against some types of ticks.
According to the Donkey Sanctuary of England, thorough clipping and frequent, thorough bathing with baby shampoo is the most effective way to get rid of body lice on a donkey. Apparently, anti-lice shampoos have the effect of helping lice build up resistance to the chemicals they contain. Clipping the coat completely leaves lice with no place to hide. Thorough bathing with baby shampoo kills the adult lice. Repeating the shampooing every few days for a period of a couple of weeks kills any lice that may hatch out from embedded eggs. Of course, it is also important to thoroughly clean the donkey’s living quarters, and you may wish to spray with an insecticide such as Permethrin spray to kill off lice in the stall and/or paddock. Again, you will need to repeat this treatment every few days because Permethrin only kills the living pests. It does not affect eggs.
Some donkeys, horses and mules do not like to have their ears handled. It’s important to be able to handle them, though. You need to be able to bridle your donkey without protest. Your vet may need to look in your donkey’s ears. You should be able to apply fly repellent to the ears. If your donkey is head-shy or doesn’t want his ears handled, just go through regular grooming every day working closer and closer to the ears as you go. Establish a routine that your donkey can count on that includes catching, tying, feeding and grooming. Do it the same way, at the same time every day. As you notice your donkey becoming more and more comfortable and accustomed to the routine, work your way toward the ears. Scratch behind the ears and rub the poll (bump on the top of the head). If your donkey will let you wipe his face with a cloth, just continue wiping gently up the ears. If he moves away, don’t react. Just keep wiping down the neck and continue with grooming. Next day, do the same thing. Time, patience, consistency and repetition will eventually win the day.