As you are most likely feeding your dog a raw diet I probably do not need to tell you the importance of nutrition. However, the significance of rest days and the importance of the right exercise can improve your dog's mood, gait or behaviour and therefore should be part of the healthy lifestyle of your dog.
Whether you have a puppy, elderly dogs, or even dogs that just simply pull on the lead, these are classified at the risk of strain injuries. These could be simply caused just by repetitive inappropriate exercise that can cause trauma such as torn muscles, or even cruciate ligaments rupture. This would trigger the acute onset of pain with swelling and inability to weight bear. Yet, overuse of particular body part of your dog (hips, elbows) could also progress to the onset of chronic pain that can cause constant discomfort. As an example, we could compare it to human arthritis or tendonitis.
The exercise your dog needs of course also vary according to its breed. But I can say that all dogs should have a minimum of one walk a day. Interestingly Germany initiated a new law that could force their citizens to walk their dogs twice a day. Their evidence shows that many dogs are not getting the exercise they need. So where to find a balance?
I would suggest getting to know your dog, their needs and fitness level. Dogs that are unfit should slowly increase their exercise tolerance. This could be from slowly increasing distance and time. Likewise, not every walk -exercise is the same. For example, ball throwing game for dogs is somewhat rush of adrenaline high therefore should be complemented with walk-on lead prior to the game. This would allow the muscles to warm up and joints to become more lubricated, hence could prevent injury.
Another way to improve your dog fitness level could involve hydrotherapy where approximately 1 minute of swimming could be equal to 4 minutes of running. This way we can also take away weight-bearing and safely improve the cardiovascular fitness of our dogs.
By observing your dog and knowing their natural gait pattern could, later on, provide you with a red flag that we should act on. Seeing a dog limp is heart-breaking for many dog owners.
Consequently, missing out on park fun and simply focusing on a lead walk with a comfortable pace that your dog is happy with is important to introduce into day to day life.