The importance of the lymphangiogenic factor VEGF-D and its receptor VEGFR-3 in early lymphatic development remains largely unresolved. We therefore investigated their role in Xenopus laevis tadpoles, a small animal model allowing chemicogenetic dissection of developmental lymphangiogenesis. Single morpholino antisense oligo knockdown of xVEGF-D did not affect lymphatic commitment, but transiently impaired lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) migration. Notably, combined knockdown of xVEGF-D with xVEGF-C at suboptimal morpholino concentrations resulted in more severe migration defects and lymphedema formation than the corresponding single knockdowns. Knockdown of VEGFR-3 or treatment with the VEGFR-3 inhibitor MAZ51 similarly impaired lymph vessel formation and function and caused pronounced edema. VEGFR-3 silencing by morpholino knockdown, MAZ51 treatment, or xVEGF-C/D double knockdown also resulted in dilation and dysfunction of the lymph heart. These findings document a critical role of VEGFR-3 in embryonic lymphatic development and function, and reveal a previously unrecognized modifier role of VEGF-D in the regulation of embryonic lymphangiogenesis in frog embryos.