Dogs dont talk in a very descriptive language by our standards. Yes they communicate, and I do my best to help people to understand what they are saying but even then it will not be very explicit. Your dog can not precisely tell you what is wrong with it, where it hurts, if its gassy belly pains or empty stomach pains, etc etc. We are left to our own devices to problem solve. So with that being said, its time to start picking poop.
Instead of simply scooping after pooping (you better not be just leaving it around for somebody to step in), take a quick moment to poke that poop with a stick. OK, for some reason I don't mind typing or even saying the word "poop", it has a joyfully juvenile feel to it. In all seriousness however, being able to take a very brief look at your dog's droppings can provide you with a wealth of information about your dog's overall health.
While it should smell, it shouldn't knock you out for the count. When young puppies are stricken with a horribly lethal disease called Parvo, it can be often times initially detected by the rancid smell it is associated with. Add in the consistency and you start to get a better picture of how your dog is feeling.
Parasites are also detected by a quick poke with a stick. Tapeworms are observed as little wriggling pieces of rice. Roundworms and hookworms can sometimes been seen as adults in the poop, but not often. These guys rarely come out preferring to live in the colon. Random bouts of diarrhea or blood in the stool are clues that something is wrong up there, and at that point you should bring in a sample for the Vet to take a look at under the microscope. There they can see the eggs of the parasites and prescribe the appropriate medicine.
This is just a quick heads up on letting you know you shouldn't just ignoring the wonderful gifts your dog leaves for the lawn man. I ramble on about it a little bit more on a previous post on my blog that you can read by clicking HERE.
Don't worry, if I drive by and see you poking some poop with a stick, I'll just smile and refrain from beeping the horn and waving.