The second stage starts as the waters break. This will be a straw-coloured liquid. The puppies will appear, on average, at half-hourly intervals. The mother will lick the puppy to clean them and bite the umbilical cord off. The licking motion of the mother will help the puppies to breathe properly and it is not unusual for the mother to eat some of the afterbirth. Dogs are born with a membrane attached to their face and whilst most mothers will lick this off immediately they sometimes don't. Using a small towel and wiping the face gently should assist in removing this membrane.
Up to four hours can pass between puppies appearing depending upon the mother's condition. Some dogs can become very tired during labour and simply need a rest. It is common for puppies to be breached (rear feet first) and caesarean sections are not unheard of for dogs. The final stage of labour in a dog is the same as in a human. Once all the puppies have been born the uterus will contract fully and any remaining blood, placenta and other fluid should exit the dog. Once puppies are born the mother will eat up to three times as much as before she was pregnant.