Do Labradors Have Droopy Eyes? Causes and Solutions

My Dog has a constant sad look on his face; I’m getting worried – Oh, how many times have I heard that.

Does your labrador have droopy eyes? Well, no worries, I’ve had my fair share of experience with it, that’s why I’m here to tell you all about it.

Do Labradors have droopy eyes? Labradors have droopy eyes if they have ectropion: drooping of the lower eyelid and rolling outward so that it exposes and raises the third eyelid (mucous membrane or conjunctiva). Labradors are not commonly prone to ectropion, but it’s not unusual to occur in Labs.

So, to make a long story short; they can, and It’s not uncommon for labradors to get droopy eyes, especially when they are still younger than one year old.

By the end of this article, you will become familiar with ectropion in Labradors: why it may occur, what to do, and when you should get concerned or keep your cool, so keep on reading.

Do Labradors Have Droopy eyes? 

Sad lab with droopy eyes to show why do Labradors have droopy eyes

Labradors are known for their captivating eyes; 

Sometimes Labradors’ eyes look a bit limp when they are young, but they should look normal when they reach one year old.

If your lab is older than one and you’ve noticed that his/her eyes are droopy, it’s best if you visit your veterinarian.

Droopy eyes in Labradors may result from nerve damage, injury or trauma, corneal damage, eye infection, or other severe inflammatory factors.

Why does your labrador have droopy eyes? 

Labradors get droopy eyes due to one of either reasons: 


Ectropion is one of the most known diseases to cause droopy eyes in all dog breeds. Although it may be more popular with other breeds like Bullmastiffs, Great Danes, or St. Bernards, it’s not uncommon with labradors.

If your puppy has ectropion, he/she will most likely begin to show symptoms while he/she is less than a year old.

Ectropion can be hereditary, so If both of your puppy’s parents have Ectropion, he/she is likely to get it as well.

Other causes of Ectropion in dogs include: 

  • Pain
    • A sore eye frequently causes the eyeball to sink into its socket, resulting in entropion.
  • Age
    • Dogs acquire sagging skin as they age. Saggy eyes are prone to rolling inwards. 
  • Loss of weight
    • Weight loss can occasionally cause sagging skin and entropion.
  • Long-term skin issues as a result of an injury
    • Entropion can be caused by eyelid injury, eyelid surgery, or skin issues affecting the eyelids.

Horner’s Syndrome

Horner’s syndrome is a neurological disease that affects the Muller’s muscle, a structural muscle that keeps the upper eyelids up. So your dog loses any muscle control over his/her eyelids. 

A sunken look of the eye (enophthalmia), decreased pupil size (miosis), droopy upper eyelid (ptosis), and a prominent third eyelid are some of the significant symptoms.

Horner’s syndrome affects dogs when the nerves in their eyes become inflamed or injured.

Dogs with this condition will have small pupils, partially closed eyelids, with the third eyelid elevated and projecting somewhat.

While not alarming on its own, Horner’s syndrome may indicate nervous system problems that you shouldn’t ignore whatsoever.

Keep in mind that these two causes can occur in any dog breed, really, but they are more common in some breeds than others. If you have a golden retriever or thinking of getting one, you can check out my guide on golden retriever droopy eyes here.

Solutions for droopy eyes in Labradors

If you’re looking for a complete ultimate solution for Ectropion, unfortunately, there’s none. Ectropion is not often treated but managed rather than repaired if its degree is moderate.

You need to make sure your dog is always out of the bushes and as far away from dust and filth as possible (no matter how much he enjoys playtime there)

In minor degrees of ectropion, topical lubricant can help, along with excellent eye and face hygiene. 

If your dog turns to be suffering from any bacterial infections, your vet will probably write down some antibiotics, typically in the form of an ointment.

In the most severe cases of ectropion, Surgery is a possibility, especially if your dog has recurring bouts of painful eye infections.

There are surgical procedures that can shorten the eyelid or even give the dog a facelift.

When to have your Lab checked out? 

You guessed it! Have your lab checked out as soon as possible.  Don’t wait to see whether the condition improves – eye problems often worsen fast, and eyes are too severe to risk.

Whenever the following symptoms show on your dog, it best to get your vet involved:

  • Droopy lower eyelids
  • Redness and inflammation of the conjunctiva
  • Excessive tearing  
  • discharge at the corners 
  • visible pink eye tissue
  • Closing eye
  • Excessive face rubbing
  • Recurring conjunctivitis
  • Recurring eye infections
  • Recurring eye ulcers.

The most noticeable of symptoms would be protruding lower eyelids, a lack of contact between the lower lid and the eyeball, and exposure of the conjunctiva are all symptoms in the eye.

Other indications include stains from poor tear drainage and discharge from the eye.

When the eyelids droop enough to pull away from the surface of the eye, the dogs become subject to a variety of eyelid issues.

This eyelid drooping promotes inadequate tear distribution and can predispose dogs to sight-threatening corneal illness.

Dogs with Ectropion commonly face a lot of issues with foreign objects irritating their eyes and will have reoccurring experiences of bacterial conjunctivitis.

You are the most knowledgeable about your dog. Even If he/she doesn’t show any of the signs listed above, but you are still worried, you should always call your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose him/her via ophthalmic evaluation, searching for germs, ulcerations, abrasions, or strange items In addition to the apparent symptoms depicted above.

How to Prevent Ectropion? 

  1. One of the main reasons contributing to ectropion in dogs is breeders. They tend to breed from dogs who suffer from entropion because of the sunken look and natural puppy eyes; that is likely to be passed onto the puppies.
  2. So avoiding getting puppies with droopy eyes might get breeders to stop.
  3. I always say that you should regularly check your dog for anything unusual, especially after your dog has developed any skin problems. You should have them treated quickly, so they don’t lead to issues such as entropion.

As always, I recommend you adopt, not shop, but if you are going to get your dog from a breeder anyway, you really need to have the puppies checked and get their health documents from the breeder before making a decision.

It’s also worth noting that Labradors are common to some of the same health problems Golden Retrievers are prone to. You can learn more about the 7 most common eye problems in Golden Retrievers here.

Related Questions 

What does it mean when your dog’s eyes are red and droopy? 

Your dog’s eyes may be red and droopy due to multiple reasons, including a variety of health problems like nerve damage, infection, accident, or severe chronic inflammation of the eye. Visit the vet to prescribe treatments and do some tests to make sure it’s nothing major.

Do English Labs have droopy eyes? 

Labs don’t have droopy eyes unless they have ectropion. It might be inherited, seen as tiny or deep-set eyes, but resolves as the pup develops and the head shape changes or acquired, requiring veterinary care. Although Ectropion is more frequent in other breeds, it is not unusual in Labradors. 

What breeds of dogs have droopy eyes? 

Breeds of dogs that have naturally droopy eyes are Bullmastiffs, Bloodhounds, Great Danes, and St. Bernards. Still, it’s always advised to make sure that your dog has natural, harmless droopy eyes, not an indication of a health issue.

Can Ectropion be cured on its own?

Ectropion can be managed with antibiotic ointments and lubricants that reduce its damage but are not entirely resolved. To repair the eyelid, Surgery is required. If the entropion is severe enough, the extra skin of the outer lids can be removed in a simple surgical procedure (blepharoplasty).

Is Ectropion Painful?

Ectropion in dogs tends to be painful and irritating if not addressed, as it can cause significant damage to the surface of the eye. Fortunately, there are numerous treatments and surgical solutions available for entropion in dogs.

Can entropion cause blindness?

If left untreated, entropion can lead to blindness or the loss of one eye. It is painful and frequently causes complications like conjunctivitis, infections, and ulcers. Entropion occurs when one eyelid slides inward towards the eyeball, rubbing the eye’s surface with hair and lashes.

Helpful Resources 

Horner’s Syndrome in Dogs

Eyelid Ectropion in Dogs

A review of Horner’s syndrome in small animals by Danielle M. Zwueste and Bruce H. Grahn

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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