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Our 15 week old girl Ellie has developed a serious pica problem in the outdoors. It started with mulch which is around my entire backyard. It is nearly impossible to keep her away from it as it is even in the grass randomly from yard work. She has now graduated to basically being an outdoor vacuum cleaner. Sticks, twigs, mulch, weeds, leaves, pine needles, you name it. Even on our walks she just scoops items up off the ground. It feels like she's on a mission to destroy her intestines.

This has recently made her ill, she developed some gastro problems in which we took her to the vet for. We put her on a bland diet and are now re-introducing her food. I've also added probiotics. She is eating fine; however, this morning she threw up a ball of shredded mulch and other assorted items like leaf material. She also shows signs of this in her feces.

We supervise her at all times when outside, and now even keep her on a lead in the yard for potties. Most of our time is spent keeping her from eating these things but of course we can never be quick enough 100% of the time. Off lead play is nearly impossible as she immediately will go into hunting mode to find and eat stuff, even when we engage her in fun play with toys and acting silly to keep her attention.

I'm working on teaching her the drop it and leave it commands, and that is starting to work well when indoors. I plan on moving to outdoor training and even incorporating stuff like mulch as part of the game. That will be a work in progress and hopefully I'll have success. I'm also looking into soft cage muzzles as a last resort. In the meantime we're afraid to take her outside.

Just checking here if anyone else dealt with this problem before and that any tips or advice is appreciated.
 

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Hi! We have a 13 weeks girl and she is exactly as you described! She was eating mulch from day one when I brought her from the breeder. Another favorite of her is moss, grass and all flower twigs like roses, bushes. I see all of it in her poop. Two scary moments we had was when she swallowed baby wipe and 3 inch long piece of collagen chew on separate occasions. Baby wipe didn’t bother her as she pooped it after 12 hours, the collagen chew evidently blocked her for a day as she was vomiting undigested food 2-3 hours after eating, after 24 hours the collagen chew was digested as she was back to normal routine.
we just supervise her and yes the leash helps.
 

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Hi! We have a 13 weeks girl and she is exactly as you described! She was eating mulch from day one when I brought her from the breeder. Another favorite of her is moss, grass and all flower twigs like roses, bushes. I see all of it in her poop. Two scary moments we had was when she swallowed baby wipe and 3 inch long piece of collagen chew on separate occasions. Baby wipe didn’t bother her as she pooped it after 12 hours, the collagen chew evidently blocked her for a day as she was vomiting undigested food 2-3 hours after eating, after 24 hours the collagen chew was digested as she was back to normal routine.
we just supervise her and yes the leash helps.
Hi Jakub, misery loves company!!! We’re thinking at this point to use a soft muzzle on her so she can have supervised freedom. We’re hoping she grows out of it at this point otherwise when she is older to start incorporating negative reinforcement training. Best of luck to you and please let us know if you come across training that helps!
 

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I was wondering if this was just a 'puppy' thing, or was unique to Vizslas. Our girl did the same thing, swallowed a sanitizer wipes in one gulp (thankfully not a bleach type wipe, but we were still so worried), and then two days ago she swallowed a chicken bone whole. And not a little bone, but the big leg bone. No crunching, nothing, just swallowed the whole bone. Both times I blamed myself. She is so FAST! I'm getting grey hairs from this girl because she is always into something. Already glad I got insurance, because I fear I'll need it at this rate.
 

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I would keep working on leave it.

Just a thought, but do you ever hide treats in the house, and play find it.
Just thinking after your pup catches on to the game. It may be a good outside distraction game. Better for them to seek out and find treats, than mulch.
 

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I would keep working on leave it.

Just a thought, but do you ever hide treats in the house, and play find it.
Just thinking after your pup catches on to the game. It may be a good outside distraction game. Better for them to seek out and find treats, than mulch.
Hi texasred, I have been working diligently on "leave it" and she is excellent in the house even with high value treats in the past few days. I'm going to start outside with her hopefully tomorrow. I was thinking I can set up traps with sticks, mulch, grass, treats, and challenger her that way with some super amazing treat she loves as the reward. Then build off of that. I like the idea of hide and seek for treats. We did that with our past dog and she loved it. I have her staying out of sight for short times and she understands "get it" , so the foundation is there. I'll start with her in the house and see if I can translate it to outdoors. I appreciate the ideas!
 

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Our 15 week old girl Ellie has developed a serious pica problem in the outdoors. It started with mulch which is around my entire backyard. It is nearly impossible to keep her away from it as it is even in the grass randomly from yard work. She has now graduated to basically being an outdoor vacuum cleaner. Sticks, twigs, mulch, weeds, leaves, pine needles, you name it. Even on our walks she just scoops items up off the ground. It feels like she's on a mission to destroy her intestines.

This has recently made her ill, she developed some gastro problems in which we took her to the vet for. We put her on a bland diet and are now re-introducing her food. I've also added probiotics. She is eating fine; however, this morning she threw up a ball of shredded mulch and other assorted items like leaf material. She also shows signs of this in her feces.

We supervise her at all times when outside, and now even keep her on a lead in the yard for potties. Most of our time is spent keeping her from eating these things but of course we can never be quick enough 100% of the time. Off lead play is nearly impossible as she immediately will go into hunting mode to find and eat stuff, even when we engage her in fun play with toys and acting silly to keep her attention.

I'm working on teaching her the drop it and leave it commands, and that is starting to work well when indoors. I plan on moving to outdoor training and even incorporating stuff like mulch as part of the game. That will be a work in progress and hopefully I'll have success. I'm also looking into soft cage muzzles as a last resort. In the meantime we're afraid to take her outside.

Just checking here if anyone else dealt with this problem before and that any tips or advice is appreciated.
Our 15 week old girl Ellie has developed a serious pica problem in the outdoors. It started with mulch which is around my entire backyard. It is nearly impossible to keep her away from it as it is even in the grass randomly from yard work. She has now graduated to basically being an outdoor vacuum cleaner. Sticks, twigs, mulch, weeds, leaves, pine needles, you name it. Even on our walks she just scoops items up off the ground. It feels like she's on a mission to destroy her intestines.

This has recently made her ill, she developed some gastro problems in which we took her to the vet for. We put her on a bland diet and are now re-introducing her food. I've also added probiotics. She is eating fine; however, this morning she threw up a ball of shredded mulch and other assorted items like leaf material. She also shows signs of this in her feces.

We supervise her at all times when outside, and now even keep her on a lead in the yard for potties. Most of our time is spent keeping her from eating these things but of course we can never be quick enough 100% of the time. Off lead play is nearly impossible as she immediately will go into hunting mode to find and eat stuff, even when we engage her in fun play with toys and acting silly to keep her attention.

I'm working on teaching her the drop it and leave it commands, and that is starting to work well when indoors. I plan on moving to outdoor training and even incorporating stuff like mulch as part of the game. That will be a work in progress and hopefully I'll have success. I'm also looking into soft cage muzzles as a last resort. In the meantime we're afraid to take her outside.

Just checking here if anyone else dealt with this problem before and that any tips or advice is appreciated.
We are on our 2nd Viszla. Our first passed away at 3 1/2 years old from Mast Cell cancer. We loved him but he was a beast. 80 lbs. So much energy. We would run him at the dog park daily for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Our big problem was he used to steal, AND EAT, poop bags!!!! Not empty ones, but bags that people used to pick up after their dogs and were carrying to a trash can. He would literally bolt across the park if he saw a bag in someones hand and snatch it from them and immediatly eat it. There was no way for us to get it from him because he was fast as lightening. The first time this happened we we horrified. But with in 12 hours, he extruded the bag like a sausage. Needless to say we were relieved, but poop bag stealing became a game for him. We bought a spray collar that sprayed citonella up under his neck. Citronella is a smell that dogs do not like and is not harmful. When he would take off for a bag, we would spray and he would stop dead in his tracks. We did this about three times and he never stole another poop bag 😁 Back to your issue, our 2nd Vizsla eats everything in the yard as well. LOVES mulch, twigs, sticks, anything he can get. He is now almost 5 years old and we just live with it and pray that nothing gets stuck. Sorry for the long post.
 

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We are on our 2nd Viszla. Our first passed away at 3 1/2 years old from Mast Cell cancer. We loved him but he was a beast. 80 lbs. So much energy. We would run him at the dog park daily for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Our big problem was he used to steal, AND EAT, poop bags!!!! Not empty ones, but bags that people used to pick up after their dogs and were carrying to a trash can. He would literally bolt across the park if he saw a bag in someones hand and snatch it from them and immediatly eat it. There was no way for us to get it from him because he was fast as lightening. The first time this happened we we horrified. But with in 12 hours, he extruded the bag like a sausage. Needless to say we were relieved, but poop bag stealing became a game for him. We bought a spray collar that sprayed citonella up under his neck. Citronella is a smell that dogs do not like and is not harmful. When he would take off for a bag, we would spray and he would stop dead in his tracks. We did this about three times and he never stole another poop bag 😁 Back to your issue, our 2nd Vizsla eats everything in the yard as well. LOVES mulch, twigs, sticks, anything he can get. He is now almost 5 years old and we just live with it and pray that nothing gets stuck. Sorry for the long post.
Thank you for the response epecorin. Thats pretty wacky with full poop bags. Glad to see they never hurt him and the citronella collar worked.

With your current V, did he start this eating of nature early as a pup as well? My trainer says that constantly taking it out of her mouth will just make her more obsessive about it. So I'm confused to just ignore it and let her chop down and eat the mulch which can hurt her at risk of making her too obsessive with the habit (which she already is if you ask me). We can't even enjoy her outside the way she is now. Even playing ball and games she looses interest and starts acting like a freaking cow eating everything on the ground. Vet is useless and the trainer is useless as they point fingers at each other. Breeder said to tap her on the nose and say "NO" firmly. I don't think that's a technique that I want to try as I understand using your hand to punish will make them hand shy/fearful.

This is pretty much driving us nuts, i'm going to reach out to a few different trainers to get their take on this. We're also hoping she outgrows it but I fear that's a longshot. I'm also not sure if we can do what you do just hoping nothing gets stuck, although that may be the last resort. She's almost 5mos old now. I may need to resort to something like an e collar or the citronella collar at 6 mos with appropriate training on how to use it.

Thanks again , it is good to know we are not alone in having a V/Cow hybrid and at least there's some hope that if we just ignore it that it hopefully won't hurt her.
 
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