This is a question I received from Crystal....
A recent question from another reader regarding horse poop is somewhat similar to my question. We have a variety of wildlife that come through our yard. Our puppy has sniffed out wild turkey and wild rabbit poop and it is in her mouth before we can get her away from it. We are trying to teach her to leave it but so far have not been succesful. We are concerned about what she might pick from eating these nasty treats.
We also have a koi pond that she likes to drink from. We are providing clean water in a dish outside for her but drinking from the pond is more fun.
Should we be concerned about either of these?
In either case you can have a risk of bacterial contamination, leading to digestive upset. The koi pond may not be as much of an issue if you have good filters, but then you have to worry about any chemicals that are placed in it. However, if it's safe for fish to live in there probably isn't a big risk for a dog.
A bigger concern with the wild animal feces would be parasites, especially from mammals like rabbits. Several intestinal parasites (worms and single-celled organisms) have rodents as intermediate hosts and eating the feces could transfer those parasites to your dog.
Unfortunately there is little you can do to prevent your dog from eating these "treats", since it's so common around you and she is so fast. I would recommend training her to a "leave it" command so that you can stop her with verbal orders. Any good trainer can help you with this kind of training. You should also make sure to have her feces checked by your vet twice annually to screen for parasites. Keeping her on heartworm prevention should help prevent against a few intestinal parasites (especially roundworms and hookworms) but there is no preventative that will cover absolutely everything.