Is it harmful?
On the whole, the biggest consequence of coprophagia is that we humans find it revolting. A dog eating its own poop is unlikely to have any harmful effects. Many owners worry about infectious diseases, but most healthy, vaccinated dogs are at a low risk for picking up illnesses this way. Snacking indiscriminately on neighbourhood poop does increase a dog’s chances of picking up worms (especially if there are cats that hunt in the area), but a standard preventative and treatment program will keep this from affecting your dog’s health. For example, many heartworm medications will also kill some types of intestinal worms, and fecal screening for intestinal parasites should be done twice a year at your vet’s office. Keep in mind that your dog will probably be exposed to most parasites in your community whether he is actually taste-testing or just sniffing around.
Something that is of concern when dogs eat cat poop is that they might end up regularly swallowing a side of kitty litter, which is serious in large quantities, especially if the absorbent (clumping) litter expands in the gut. A dog with a belly full of kitty litter can sometimes become severely ill and might end up at the vet with vomiting or diarrhea. The consumed cat litter can be difficult to remove even with surgery, as it can scatter throughout the digestive tract.
For a quick method, try giving him alternatives to those nasty “outdoor snacks”. Try throwing some dog treats near the poop, like pig ears, and see if he’ll prefer those instead.
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