Being overweight, on an incorrect diet and with limited exercise are the biggest issues facing donkeys in the UK. The extra weight can increase the risk of conditions such as laminitis and hyperlipaemia, both of which can be fatal.
Excess internal fat coats the liver, kidneys and heart of the donkey, leading to liver and heart disease and kidney failure. The additional load on joints and feet increases the risk of arthritis, painful limb conditions and laminitis, making simple daily activities like walking and lying down uncomfortable and painful.
We are literally killing our donkeys, too much rich grazing, coupled with too little exercise combined with the donkeys' efficient digestive system make a toxic mix that literally shortens the lives of donkeys in the UK.
Dieting a donkey is no easy task, it takes time and effort, but the rewards to your donkey's health and mental wellbeing are immense. Maintaining the correct weight of your donkey is the only responsible thing to do if you really do care for them.
An overweight donkey is a welfare issue.
The Donkey Sanctuary is launching a campaign to help owners understand the welfare needs of their donkeys and the importance of correct weight in donkey health. For more advice look at our Donkey Care Guide and factsheets on feeding or contact our welfare team.