Poop. Its a fact of life. Everything poops. Being in the pet industry, it is amazing how much time I spend talking poop.
That's OK. People who would never discuss having a digestive problem themselves have no issues discussing their dog's canon butt at length with me. Which is a good thing, because a pet's health can sometimes be revealed through its output.
Good digestive health generally means the animal will produce firm, well formed fecal deposits (poop). These well formed feces are important for a number of reasons, they mean the intestines and colon are working properly, and it also aids the anal glands in doing their job.
When the stools are too loose, they are not only harder to pick up, but they are not doing what they need to do. When they are even worse, and totally liquid, that can lead to a host of issues, including dehydration. While there are many reasons for a dog to get diarrhea, making sure they stay hydrated during an episode is important, and if it persists, you should seek veterinary assistance. If there is any sign of blood, though, immediately get the dog to the vet. It could be a sign of parvo, especially if accompanied by vomiting, and this can be deadly very, very quickly.
If your dog has difficulties with either persistent diarrhea or constipation, it might be a good idea to change up the diet. A different brand of food, maybe based on a different protein might help. Or one with a different formulation, maybe a grain free option. Or even changing modalities of food, if kibble isn't working, sometimes canned or frozen raw can do the trick.
There are also digestive aids made specifically for pets, probiotics and/or prebiotics, that you can add to the food to try and regulate the output. Even something that is fibre rich, like canned pumpkin (plain, not pie filling) or psylium fibre can help. Oddly enough, the natural cure for both constipation and diarrhea can be the addition of fibre. Adding fibre will increase the volume of the output, giving you more to pick up, but the health benefits are worth it.
If the pet is raw fed, varying the amount of bone content or organ content can adjust the stool motility. If the pet is constipated, moving to a product that contains less bone can help, or you can add more organ meats. For loose stools, adding more bone tends to tighten things up. The addition of pumpkin can help raw fed pets as well, but it will considerably increase stool size. One of the things raw feeders love is the fact the poop is so tiny and just disappears. Adding pumpkin will change that somewhat, but still the cleanup is a lot easier than dry or canned food.
So, that's the poop. An important indicator of your pet's health is in the bag. Knowing what to look for can give you a heads up from under the tail.