When Do Lab Puppies Open Their Eyes?

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Newborn lab puppies are adorable, and it’s impossible not to fall head over heels in love. But one thing many people ask is when they first open their eyes.

On average, lab puppies open their eyes within the first 12-14 days but sometimes, it can take as long as 16-21 days. It takes a few weeks for most puppies to open their eyes because they are sensitive to light. Opening their eyes is the first major step in a puppy's growth and development.

Lab puppies are born with their eyes closed, and it takes time for all dogs, including labs, to grow and develop. Keep reading to learn everything necessary about puppy eyes and their development.

When Do Lab Puppies Open Their Eyes?

Lab puppies do not open their eyes until they are about 12-14 days old. The maximum estimate for a lab puppy to open its eyes is 16-21 days.

They are born with their eyes closed and aren't developed enough to open them until they are about two weeks old.

They will likely start to make more noise as they become more alert and aware of their surroundings. This is the time when pet owners will probably notice the first indications that their puppy’s eyes are open.

Remember that every dog is different, so these are just general guidelines. For example, they might make little whimpers and squeaks more clearly. If there are concerns about the lab’s development, check for the signs of eye infection in puppies.

Why Do Lab Puppies Eyes Stay Closed?

Puppies’ eyes will remain closed for the first couple of weeks of their lives. The lab puppy’s eyes may still be shut when adopted earlier, and they will stay closed until they’re a couple of weeks old.

This is because puppies are born with their eyelids sealed together. This is due to their optical nerves not having full function yet, and bright lights are too much for them to handle.

They are still delicate. They are born from darkness, and the outside world is much brighter for newborn puppies. It takes time for these little creatures to adjust properly.

So when a lab puppy is born, they have its eyes shut. For the first week or so, they don’t move around much because they are so little and underdeveloped.

How Do A Lab Puppy’s Eyes Develop?

All dogs are born as puppies with their eyes closed. The same is true for lab puppies with tightly closed eyelids in the first few days after birth.

Once the eyelids open, the eyes are still delicate because this is the first real exposure to bright lights. The eyeball is blue or gray, and the iris looks the same.

All puppies have this same eye color at this age too. The true eye color isn't developed until the lab puppy is eight weeks old.

This means they will change color and become more pigmented as they age. The iris of the puppy’s eyes will also grow, changing from a pinkish color to a darker one.

Around the same time, the eyeball will grow, slowly becoming more visible. The puppy’s eyes are still developing during this time, too.

It’s important to know that a lab puppy at 14 days old cannot see well. Their vision is mostly movement and shapes, without any ability to see anything accurately.

By eight weeks, a lab puppy has developed acute vision. This is one of the reasons why many dog adoptions occur at eight weeks or later.

What If My Lab Puppy Still Hasn't Opened Its Eyes?

If a lab puppy’s eyes are still shut when they’re supposed to be open, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Keep an eye out for signs of eye infections in puppies, especially since the lab is very young.

We recommend trying one of the following things if a lab has gone past 21 days without first opening its eyes. This is something to be concerned about, and massaging the eyelids, identifying swelling, and contacting a vet is the best solution.

Massage The Eyelids

Sometimes a litter of lab puppies can be underdeveloped. This can happen if the lab is very premature.

It may take longer for their eyes to open when this happens, but it's still alarming and worth monitoring. Massaging the eyelids gently can help.

We recommend running small cotton balls under warm water and massaging the puppy’s eyelids softly. This can be done once a day to help the puppy improve their eye strength and soon be able to open its eyes.

Look For Swelling

After trying the massage technique, be sure to look for any type of infection or swelling in the eye area. It’s rare, but some puppies can also be born with major eye issues.

Some signs of potential problems include swelling, pus, or abnormalities around the eyes. When this happens, professional help is needed to analyze the puppy's health.

Seek Veterinary Care

All puppies grow at different rates, so it’s impossible to say exactly when a lab puppy’s eyes will open for the first time. But if they are still closed after the first three weeks, it’s time to contact a vet.

What Age Can You Adopt A Lab Puppy?

Puppies are born with their eyes shut. They also lack mobility and must be monitored extremely carefully at birth, which is true for the first 4-6 weeks after they are also born.

Because of this, it’s not recommended that anybody adopt a lab puppy younger than 8 weeks old. However, anybody can try to adopt a lab puppy earlier, but many breeders won’t allow it.

This is because it’s very likely that the lab is not yet vaccinated. This puts more pressure on the new owner to know about potential health issues while increasing the initial costs.

Caring for a puppy in the first six weeks is also much more difficult. Breeders are professionals, and it’s easier for them to handle.

What Happens After A Lab Puppy Opens Their Eyes?

After a lab puppy opens their eyes, it still won’t have crystal clear vision. It takes about eight weeks for them to develop their adult vision capabilities.

This means the next 3-4 weeks should be steady growth to allow the puppies to become more comfortable with their surroundings. They shouldn’t be put into any difficult situations with ultra-bright lighting.

By the eight-week mark, the lab puppy is grown, medicated, and capable of much more. And this is around the time when potential owners can start to adopt.

Before eight weeks old and adoption, lab puppies also develop more in other areas. This includes learning to climb in the first 3-4 weeks and learning to walk, run, and play with confidence by week four.

About THE AUTHOR

Mark Brunson

Mark Brunson

Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.

Read more about Mark Brunson