Apple Cider Vinegar Remedy for Conjunctivitis in Pets

| Modified on Oct 31, 2022
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Apple Cider Vinegar remedy for pink eye in pets.

Apple cider vinegar is Earth Clinic's most popular home remedy for conjunctivitis (an eye infection) in pets. Our readers have used this remedy for their dogs and cats. Many have been astonished that something so simple and inexpensive cured their pet's eye infection so quickly!

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Conjunctivitis in Pets

Apple cider vinegar is used for eye infections in several ways.

Method 1 - Scruff of the Neck

​This is the safest way to safely and gently treat conjunctivitis in your dog or cat.

  • Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and filtered water (i.e., 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar.)
  • Soak a cotton ball and apply this solution to the back of your pet's neck (i.e., the scruff of the neck) three times a day.
  • You will squeeze out the solution from the cotton ball onto the fur and skin of your animal.
  • Large animals or animals with a lot of fur will need more. Some of our readers have used as much as a tablespoon or two of this solution on their larger pets.

Method 2 - Eye Wash

Our readers also report success using a very well diluted ACV mixture on their pet's infected eye.


  • Mix 2 teaspoons (NOT tablespoons) of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of filtered water.
  • Use a cotton ball to wipe the cat or dog's eyes three times a day.
  • Make sure the animal's eyes are closed when you do this. A bit will seep into the eyes, and that is fine. Use a fresh cotton ball for each eye at each application to avoid spreading the infection.
  • Both eyes should always be treated, even if only one appears to be infected.


Be sure to label each solution you prepare for treating your pet's conjunctivitis. Do NOT use a strong solution that is 1/2 vinegar 1/2 water in your pet's eyes.  That is much too strong and would burn!

Method 3 - Apple Cider Vinegar Give Internally

You can also give Apple cider vinegar to your dog or cat internally to heal conjunctivitis. Apple Cider Vinegar can be added to a pet's water bowl or mixed into his food.


  • For a small animal or kitten, 1/4 teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar in their water dish a day is plenty.

  • For a very large dog, 1 or 2 teaspoons a day added to a large bowl of water would suffice.

If your pet resists this method, use less apple cider vinegar.  Orr try the external back of the neck treatment or the diluted eyewash method.
You can also mix a small amount of apple cider vinegar into your pet's food.

Read on below to see how Earth Clinic readers used the apple cider vinegar remedy to treat their pet's eye infection and let us know how it worked for you!

82 User Reviews

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Posted by Carole (MI) on 04/16/2022

My cat has goopy, runny eyes so I tried the 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water method of putting it on the scruff of his neck. I didn't notice anything after the first application, but after the second one, his eyes have gotten REALLY goopy and yucky. Is this normal; could it be the infection coming out? Please respond if anyone has had this happen.

Replied by Stephanie
(Long Valley, Nj)

Hi Carole,

in rescue kittens with gooey eyes, I used to use Terramycin ointment from the feed store, or online purchase. it worked on 90% of the kittens eye infections. If you use it, just be careful not to touch the eye. just gently put it inside the bottom eyelid.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by @mypupsaje (Vancouver BC) on 12/10/2021

I put the diluted mixture of two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water on my dog's goopy eye(s).

I also did a one-to-one ratio on his scruff and paws. The next day his eye was noticeably better. I have continued to do so for three consecutive days and I'm just delighted with the results. The vet, whom we love, guesstimated a charge of $400 were this remedy to have failed. We just had an expensive slipped disc fiasco and are thrilled this worked, especially given the upcoming holidays. Thank you!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Misty (Selma, NC) on 07/25/2021

I just want to say thank you for this information! Cat started with watery left eye. Progressed to both eyes and thick discharge. Vet said no need to bring her into the office. I applied ACV to her neck and then her paw. Cleared her eyes up in 3 days. Use it once a day. Thank you again. This was so helpful.

Replied by Vanessa
(Atlanta, Georgia)

But it's stated not to place ACV around her eye so if it's placed on the paw she will clean the eye with the paw

EC: ACV absorbs rapidly on the paws in our experience.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Theresa (Fl) on 10/10/2020

I just had to report my results using Apple Cider Vinegar for my new kitten's conjunctivitis. I did the half water-half vinegar solution (50/50) and tho it made no sense to me I did soak a cotton ball and applied it to Onyxs' shoulder blades (this being after my third application @ 2x/day) and I also mixed up a solution of 1cp water/1tsp of the vinegar and wiped his eyes out three times a day with it.

I am floored by the results so far!! It's only now the second day and it was posted by others that results would be noticed on the second day and I can 100% say with no doubts that the treatment is actually working!!

When I got him his eyes had a lot of pus in both eyes. The eyelids were both crusty and partially sealed by the discharge so I think it's fair to say his infection was moderate heading towards severe. This morning his eyes were both open all the way, a very tiny amount of pus, mostly his eyes were watery. He was so happy to actually see his toy that he played and played for a good hour before passing back out again.

I now have a very hyper kitty. He does have worms also but once I finish taking care of that issue I can't imagine how much energy he will have when his poor tummy feels better especially if he's displayed this much energy just fixing his eyes. It was literally the best $4 I ever spent on any kind of product. And to think putting vinegar on the shoulder blades in the back AWAY from their eyes actually works!! AND it sure beats going to the vet paying for just being there and then the cost of some kind of medicine and my baby is very young, too young to have been taken from his mother however the mothers owner is far from a responsible pet owner and was literally throwing the entire litter outside in the woods next to her house. If I could have taken them all I would have and I've thought about them ever since. I know I'm going to try everything I can to help the one I did save. I don't know about the worms, if the vinegar would kill those but that's my next mission. If not it's off to the vet with him.

Thanks for the advice, this site is fantastic!! I spend many hours here going thru all the remedies and ailments. Keep up the great work!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Suzanne (Lawrenceville, Ga) on 12/03/2018

My 5month old gsd mix woke up Saturday with nasty eye gook and red in one eye, had it all day. Started the Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water, put it on cotton balls and rubbed on both his eyes and on the back of his neck. Sunday he was already getting better by this morning his eye is back to normal. Worked great!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Lisa (Fl) on 07/08/2018

So, I adopted a rescue cat 2 years ago. She was on eye medication at the time and I thought it was just an eye infection that would be cured shortly. Unfortunately we went back and forth to the vet 3x initially for new medications because nothing was curing the infection. She would go for maybe a week or 2 with drier eyes but then back it came. I was told that she probably had herpes virus and would have flare ups all her life. She has been on every medication that my Vet suggested. I have tried probiotics for a stronger immune system, TONS of lysine, colloidal silver. etc. Nothing has worked period. I don't use air diffusers, plug-ins, carpet powders, nothing that I think might irritate her eyes. SO.... for the past 2 days I've doused her back with organic and raw apple cider vinegar and her eye is BETTER! Not sure if I am going to have to do this on a daily basis but it matters not. My Fifi is better :) This is fantastic stuff!!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Sm (Atlanta ) on 05/28/2018

Amazing. organic raw unfiltered apple cider “with the mother” vinegar”. Mixing 1/1 with water and wipe liberally on the back of the neck and scruff has cured my Siamese cat Meezee's conjunctivitis. It's the 3rd day and it is 99% healed. Gonna do it for another 2 days which will be more than enough. I had this problem once before and it cost me $150 for the vet visit and eye drops.

Just wanted to add my experience to the mix. Bottom line, it works.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Patricia (Ar) on 12/14/2017

Had I not seen this with my own eyes, I never would have believed this would work, but it's a miracle cure for sure...Four months ago we rescued a cat who's elderly owner could no longer care for her, she was aprox 2 years old and was in a hoarding situation, raised in a very unhealthy environment. She came to us with upper respiratory problems and severe conjunctivitis in one eye. During her first Vet wellness exam to check for infectious diseases that could be spread to my other cats the Vet checked her eye for scratches, or foreign debris in her eyes. Nothing was found so the Vet diagnosed a herpes virus and we started administering antibiotic drops into her eyes. Several weeks passed with no improvement. She was taken in for her spaying surgery and shots at which time they rechecked her eye and prescribed more ointment to put in her eye, this time containing a steroid. Several weeks passed with no improvement. Another call to the Vet and they prescribed an anti-inflammatory drop. Several weeks improvement. Another call to the Vet, this time they prescribed another antibiotic drop, this time with a stronger antibiotic...10 days later, still no improvement. I was ready to give up hope and just thought she would be plagued with a bad eye for the rest of her life, and just hoped it wouldn't get so bad that she would have to have it removed.

Googled "Feline Conjunctivitis" to see what I could find online when I found the "EarthClinic" site. I was skeptical to say the least...I couldn't believe something as simple as putting organic Apple Cider Vinegar diluted 1-1 with distilled water could cure her eye problem, after spending several hundred dollars already on her eyes, but I was ready to try anything...

Day one I put the mixture on a jumbo cotton ball and soaked the scruff of her neck 3 times throughout the day. I could tell by that evening she was already starting to open her eye, which she had been squinting shut since we brought her home!

Day 2, I continued with the treatment 3 times throughout the day, her eye was 75% better, much less redness and no eye boogies!

Day 3 & 4, I used the mixture 2 times.

By day 5 her eye was completely healed! No redness, no squinting, and no boogies! I don't know how this works but, it is a miracle, this is the first time her eye's have been completely clear, open and healthy looking since we got her! She was to the point that she would RUN and hide when she saw me coming with a bottle of eye drops, but she didn't mind the ACV treatment at all, I warmed the cold solution to about body temp and she actually enjoyed me rubbing it on her neck between the shoulder blades.

THANK YOU EARTH CLINIC! I have many friends in the animal rescue community and will definitely will be sharing this treatment with them all!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Kandas (California) on 11/28/2017

I got a kitten with FIV and with that she has conjunctivitis; I looked up some of the best home remedies for what could be done to keep her from loosing her gorgeous eyes and prevent her from feeling so uncomfortable, and was thoroughly pleased to see that apple cider vinegar is the solution. I've noticed some people on here are saying that their kitty will refuse their wet food if the vinegar is put into their food?

For my kitten, I did 1/4 teaspoon to one teaspoon of chicken broth for one 8 oz can of wet food. She loved it! I'd go for an organic broth, however, if you're a skeptic like me and don't want anything harmful getting into your kitty.

Hope this helps anyone still having trouble with coaxing their kitties to take their treatment.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Maggie (Idaho) on 07/19/2016 36 posts

One day I noticed that my cat's eyes looked swollen and were partly shut. There was also a white discharge and she looked like she didn't feel well. I tried the half filtered water and half apple cider vinegar that's been tried by people on earth clinic. I mixed the water and vinegar and then put some on a small cotton pad and cleaned her closed eyes along the eyelids. I did that once in the evening and the next morning and that's all it took to heal whatever was wrong.

Replied by Julie
(Jesup, Georgia)

Hi! Should a fresh batch be made daily? I've been using the same solution for a few days but was thinking the eyewash should be made and applied fresh daily.

Perhaps the solution applied externally would be ok for a week? I am concerned because I read that a solution made with water risks bacterial growth, but that was an article based on a homemade saline solutions...maybe one made with vinegar might be okay for a few days? What do you think?

Today is day four since trying ACV, and so far my fur baby is responding well. I'm hoping he is clear by Christmas =). Is it reasonable to take a week or two for complete healing? I read somewhere that three days is typical.

Happy Holidays! Thank you so much for all you do!

Today is day four since trying ACV, and so far my fur baby is responding well. I'm hoping he is clear by Christmas =). Is it resonalbe to take a week or two for compleate healing? I read somewhere that three days is typical.

Happy Holidays! Thank you so much for all you do!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Carol (Murrieta Ca.) on 06/21/2016

I have a 5 year old Schnauzer that has had conjunctivitis for the last 2 months. I took him to the Vet and we applied antibiotics drops for 2 weeks, it came back and we reapplied for another 2 weeks. To no avail it came back again. I read this site, and have tried the ACV to wipe his eyes, the back of the neck, and in his water. It was gone in about 5 days, his eyes look normal.

I was just wondering how long should I use it? Not trusting because of the antibiotic, and worrying it may come back.

Replied by Suseeq
(Sydney, Australia)

It won't hurt to do another few days.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Anita (South) on 08/30/2015

I had a kitten with an eye infection and I knew that vinegar was the solution, based on my experience with other animals (chickens, cows, etc), but I also knew that cats won't drink vinegar. I tried putting some vinegar mixed in with canned cat food, and they refused it. So I read on this website to put it on their back. I did that, and her eye got much better. Then I figured out that to make it easier to apply, just dip her foot in it. I put 1 to 1 vinegar and water in a little jar and dipped her feet in it. It's well known that feet are super absorbent. Thankfully, the kittens eye is much better today. I tried several remedies that didn't work and it had gotten bad, so it took a few days to get better.

Replied by Sheila
(South Yorkshire)

My dog had conjunctivitis in both eyes used 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 part water stood his feet in it one at a time then wet the back of his neck too. The next day it was completely gone such a relief. Thank you for the tip, it saved me a fortune. Will pass the advice on.

Replied by Louise
(Hobart, Tasmania)

I'm not surprised that apple cider vinegar works to clear up conjunctivitis. Bacteria cannot live in an acidic environment. I've only just found that out. My cocker Spaniel has conjunctivitis, and she has had it for seven months, would you believe. Nothing so far has worked. I'm going to start trying the vinegar. Because judging by a lot of the comments here it is working a treat.

Replied by Stacey

Hi thankyou so much for your post. We have a 9 week old kitten whom we took to the vet on Tuesday as 1 of her eyes started to swell really badly and it was really red and she couldnt open it properly. We didnt know what was wrong or why it swelled. The vet gave her some eye drops which we used but it was not any better yesterday, so the vet wanted to give her an anti-inflammatory injection, which could kill her as her organs aren't yet fully developed. We obviously were horrified that she would suggest that, so after alot of money spent, I remembered this site. We used your recommendation of dipping her paws in ACV mixed with water, and within hours she could open her eye, and this morning its fully cleared and better. We are amazed and so thankful to you and everyone else who post on this site xx

Replied by Barbara

You guys are a life saver. I keep paying the vet 30$ for tiny tube of cream just to hear u guys tell me this. I love Braggs ACV for many things..never thought it would help my cat who is my world. TY TY TY

Replied by Endi

Bacteria can live in any environment. Even though ACV is acidic, it creates an alkaline environment within the body. Bad bacteria can thrive in an acidic body. So helping the body get to a healthy pH level is vital. I just didn't want anyone thinking an acidic environment was good for the body.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Jaide (Brisbane, Queensland) on 06/19/2015

After reading this site I tried the apple cider vinegar in my 9 month old kitten, as one of he his eyes was inflamed with some discharge and he was squinting. I too was skeptical. I put some on his shoulder/neck at 6pm and again before bed. No noticeable improvement. Woke up this morning and his eye looks bright as a button!!! I've has put some more Apple Cider Vinegar on his neck today- he is busily licking himself clean! I'm not sure how it works but it seems to have worked for him :) thank you so much!

EC: Hi Jaide,

Thank you for the feedback! You may already be doing this, but we wanted to note to others that ACV should always be diluted with water before applying topically on a pet or given internally. 1:1 is what our frequent contributors typically recommend.

Undiluted ACV can otherwise burn the skin and cause considerable pain.

Replied by Steph
(Coventry, United Kingdom)

Hi, I have a 8 yr old Staffordshire Bull Terrier and I was just wondering if the Apple Cider Vinegar really works, both her eyes are shut and her third eyelid is up in both eyes and is discharging green gunk in both eyes.

I'm getting rid of the green gunk and soaking her eyes and is also treating it with tea bags every 3 - 4 hours and I also had put apple Cider Vinegar on her shoulders and back of her neck not long ago and will be putting it back on when its bed time in the same spot. I'm getting really worried because she can't see very well and is less energetic then usually and is shaking a lot more but her appetite is the sameish. Will this work?

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Steph -is there a reason you have not taken your dog to the vet? I understand in the UK a vet cannot refuse you service if you are unable to pay immediately. Your dog sounds as if she is suffering: this does not sound like a simple eye infection - please take your dog to the vet. Then report back and see if there is a remedy that applies once she has been stabilized.

Replied by Ana Lucia

My cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and infection on his eyes . The doctor now told me it is herpes. I checked here to put apple cider vinegar with water in his neck. I wondering if it is ok to me to do cause hi has hyperthyroidism.? He is fine, but I think his eyes bothering him so much. I took him so many times to the vet, the bet give a antibiotics to stop in his eyes... Get better for 2, 3 days and get bad again. I want to try the apple cider vinegar if it is not be bad for his thyroid. Thanks

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)


I cannot find anything to indicate that ACV is contra indicated but I have not devoted days to this research. If this were my cat, I would use the ACV and monitor results closely.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Thrinny (Caldwell, Nj) on 05/16/2015

So I stumbled upon this site searching for a cure for conjunctivitis for my 5 yr old cat, Milo. After reading all the posts about Apple Cider Vinegar and how it worked for so many others, I had to give it a try. I mixed 1 tablespoon of ACV and 1 tablespoon of water and soaked a cotton ball with it. Put it on the back of her neck, in between her shoulder blades, and when we got up this morning she was 99% better. I was blown away with how quickly it worked. I will do another dose today just to be on the safe side. This certainly saved me $$ for not having to go to the vet. Plus Milo is not a fan of going in the carrying crate, so less frustration on both our parts.

I saved this site to my favorites for future ailments.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Nbk8a6v (Atascadero, Ca) on 07/05/2014

My 7 yr old doberman has conjunctivitis; not sure how he got it but its in the left eye, which swelled up on top to the size of a golf ball. When I opened the swollen lids, the inner tissue appeared to be swollen, but no redness on the whites of his eyes. Flushed his eye with saline solution and took him to the vet. Vet poked around and used ultraviolet light to determine no corneal trauma and no foreign object. She prescribed eyedrops. Basically, its neomycin and polymyxin--the same stuff in generic antobiotic ointment you can get at Target or Walmart for $3. So I used the $35 eyedrops religiously for a week and the swelling and discharge went away.

But less than a week later, the swelling and discharge came back. I clean my boy's face everyday with babywipes and now I flush his eyes with sterile saline solution, so whatever foreign object might have irritated his eye to begin with was not an issue the second time his eye swelled up. Hmmm.

This time tried Refrigerated organic ACV on a cotton ball, saturated the back of his neck and wiped his eye. He seemed to like the cool sensation on his eye. Plus put a little generic antiobiotic gel on the corners of his eye. Swelling went away in less than 24 hours. I will keep this up for a week just to make sure it doesn't come back.

I know vets mean well but in today's grim economy why stick it to people with expensive pharma when there are inexpensive home remedies that are just as if not more effective. I have three dogs and three cats and I would have more if I could afford them. Maybe I could if vets would stop purchasing their vacation homes with unnecessary scripts for our furkids. Yeah, that sounds rather cynical but I have paid my share of unnecessary vet expenses over the years and finally wised up. Its great that we love our furkids, people, but please do your research first before making a vet appt. So much stuff is unnecessary if not downright harmful for your pet but most vets don't care, they just want your money. This website is a great start.

Replied by Michelle

Hi, I have the same problem with my dog and the same thing happened to me with the eye drops prescribed to me by the vet! So I'm going to try the ACV but did you put it directly inside the eye or around? Thanks!

Replied by Om
(Hope, Bc Canada)

Hello, Michelle --- for conjunctivitis the best remedy is colloidal silver. I personally would not use apple cider vinegar although some people use ACV.

In fact CS is THE remedy for eyes and kills viral infections. Chamomile tea is also excellent.

Namaste, Om

Replied by Kym Sheridan
(Port Douglas Qld Australia)

My dog has conjunctivitis and am interested how you would apply the colloidal silver, in the gel or liquid form?

Replied by Sherry

Do you use the colloidal silver topically on the eyes or internally? If you give it internally, how much do you use?

Replied by Sue
(St. Jospeh, Mi)

I found the post on Earth Clinic that stated not to use too much colloidal silver in the eyes...

Replied by DaveFountain Inn, Sc0 01/14/2014

Mike from UK re Pink Eye, Hello, and I too have used Colloidal Silver on conjunctivitis .... pink eye. That virus is a killer to get rid of but for the past 15 years when I first read it would work I've used it to quickly get rid of the infection. I use two drops of CS in each eye twice a day for two days. I was told by an ophthalmologist who was a professor of ophthalmology not to use the CS beyond 2 days because the CS could take off the cells of the eyeball. dt

Replied by Mary
(Princeton, Il)

I'm in the same boat as you. 4 cats and 1 dog. All rescues. My 2 newest additions are Asho and Riley. Rescued them from an abandoned wagon at a farm. They still had umbilical cords, so bottle fed them till old enough for kibble. Argo, tonight I noticed his eyes didn't look right. Rinsed them, and right away looked up homeopathic treatments. My newest, Asho and Riley, still haven't been introduced to my vet yet. Money is scarce, so been praying for healthy kittens till I canb afford their shots and spay and neutering. Now this, his eyes :(. I hope it works!!!