The first rule when your bitch is going into labour is don’t panic. Rule 2 is to stay back and only intervene if things are going seriously wrong.
How do you know when labour is starting, About 12 to 24 hours before labour, your dog’s temperature will drop, so get into the habit of taking her temperature. She also will go off her food and may even be sick. Nesting behaviour such as scratching her bedding is common as is restlessness and unsettled behaviour. Once labour starts, you will notice her contractions causing her to tense before relaxing. The final stage is clear or green vaginal discharge. The puppies will usually be born at 20 minute intervals and she may have a rest of up to 2 hours in the middle. Puppies are born either head or tail first and your dog will lick them to clear the membranes and stimulate breathing. She will also bite through the umbilical cord.
What might go wrong, If your bitch is has had a dark green discharge for over an hour and no puppies, or if she has been straining for over an hour, this is probably the time to call the vet. You may also need to help a puppy if another starts coming before she has had a chance to attend to it. Make sure that she’s looking after the puppies, if not then you’ll need to get the vet. If all is well, leave the new family alone to settle down to rest.