Natural Remedies for Conjunctivitis in Dogs and Cats

| Modified on Apr 14, 2024
Conjunctivitis Remedies for Pets.

Dogs and cats can get infections in their eyes, commonly called conjunctivitis, or pink eye. Natural remedies for eye infections in pets can often be very effective and include apple cider vinegar, boric acid solution, and coconut oil.

Eye infections in pets, no matter the cause, usually respond quickly to home treatments.

What Causes Viral Conjunctivitis in Dogs and Cats?

Pets can get bacterial and viral infections in their eyes. Sometimes this will accompany a respiratory infection. Foreign particles in the eye can also lead to irritation and infection. Allergies can also cause discharge from the eyes, eye irritation, and bloodshot eyes.

Top Natural Remedies for Eye Infections

Below are a handful of popular remedies noted by Earth Clinic readers that work fast in getting rid of eye infections in kittens, cats and dogs.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Diluted apple cider vinegar is an excellent remedy for eye infections in pets.

Apple Cider Vinegar is an effective natural remedy that over 50 of our readers have used to cure eye infections in their cats and dogs. Read the feedback here.

Watch our popular acv for pets video to learn 2 easy and gentle ways to use apple cider vinegar topically to treat your dog or cat's eye infection, and you don't even have to touch their eyes! 

Boric Acid Solution

A boric acid solution is an old fashioned remedy for infections. A boric acid solution is gentle, easy to make, and easy to apply. A boric acid solution will fight bacteria, viruses and help to wash foreign particles from the eye. Boric acid is a common ingredient in over the counter eyewash solutions.

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver fights bacteria, viruses, and fungus. To use it to treat pink eye in your pet, simply put two drops of colloidal silver into each eye twice a day for two days.


Black tea or chamomile tea makes a wonderfully soothing remedy for eye infections. Simply brew a cup of tea. Do not sweeten the tea. Allow the tea to cool. Use cotton balls to apply the tea to generously apply the tea to the eyelids. You don't have to get it directly into the eyes; some will seep in at the corners of the eyes. This remedy can be used 2-3 times each day until the infection resolves.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil soothes inflammation and fights infections. Using a soft cloth, apply a pea-sized amount of coconut oil to your pet's eyes, wiping from the inside corner of the eye to the outside corner of the eye.

Tips for an Effective Treatment

  • Once you begin to use a natural remedy for eye infections, you will often see results within 12 hours. If you do not see results within 24 hours, you may wish to try another remedy. If the infection gets worse or is accompanied by other symptoms, you should consult a trusted veterinarian.
  • Always treat both eyes when dealing with an eye infection, even if only one eye appears to be infected. It is very common for eye infections to spread quickly.
  • WEash your hands thoroughly after treating your pet's eyes to not contaminate yourself or other pets in your house.
  • If you are using a topical treatment, use a fresh cotton ball for each eye each time you apply a remedy.
  • It is best to continue treating each eye for several days after the infection appears to be resolved unless you use colloidal silver, which only needs to be used for 2 days.

Keep reading to see what our readers have used to treat their pet's eye infections!

Have you used a natural remedy for an eye infection in your cat or dog? Please send us some feedback!

Related Links:

Borax for Pets: Effective Skin Solutions & Arthritis Relief
Natural Pet Remedies for Cats

Antibiotic Ointment

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Mgew (Austin, Texas, United States) on 12/14/2012

I have used Antibiotic Ointment lots of times for my cats and kittens gunky eyes. Make sure you get the plain stuff, non with the pain reliever just the basic. I have even put in in my eye. When ever I had a cat with an eye that looked like it was irritated I would put a dab on the outside corner of the eye so he could blink it in. It has never bothered them and has always worked wonders. I usually do it for three days in a row and then they are good to go then.

Right now I have a feral cat in my a back yard with a gunky looking eye. It started out as a clear yellow discharge with red sometimes. He then started keeping it closed all the time. It has gotten really bad looking and seems to be moving into his other eye. I can't touch him he's too skiddish. One day I was able to prepare myself with a dab of ointment on my finger and I got it on him. His eye looked way better the next day but since then I am losing the catch a cat battle. I ordered Fishmox and it's on its way. Otherwise he may keep suffering and go blind.

Replied by Sandy

Trap him, get him fixed, and treat the eye. Then turn him loose...

Replied by Jill
(New Bern , Nc)

Get some virgin or extra virgin coconut oil put it in some canned cat food. About a teaspoon. Cats love it and it is good for them. It has antibacterial, antiviral & antifungal properties. Give it to him til infection goes away. To really turn it up a notch, also add a little(about 1/4 teaspoon) of diatomaceous earth ( make sure it is food grade) to the canned food. It kills parasites and most of the time these infections are parasite related. I am doing this very thing with a feral kitten at work who had a really bad case conjunctivitis. It looks so much better. I think it will eventually totally eliminate it. You could also put some colloidal silver in his food. Excellent for infections. No need to try and trap him. Put medicine in his food. Been working for me.

Antibiotic Ointment
Posted by Lisa (Wichita Falls, Texas) on 05/31/2010

pet eye problems

a kitten that I rescued 2 or 3 years ago( I still have him) kept having eye problems. For 2 or 3 weeks I would clean his eyes with a warm wet wash cloth. They were better but not cured. Someone told me to put antibiotic ointment just under the eyes being careful not to get it in the eyes. Just put some on your finger and rub it in the fur around the bottom of the eye. I did this 3 times a day for about a week or so and his eyes were cured! No more problems.

Replied by Wizzlet
(Somerville, Mass)

The last comment talked about pouring 1 liter of water over the cat's eye. I would caution about doing this as, if any water gets into the cat's ears, your cat could end up having a lot more problems. Ear infections, loss of balance and many other issues. I would stick to cleaning the eye with a clean sterile gauze. Then use your antibiotic ointment.

Replied by Diamond
(Salisbury, Usa)

Wizzlet; I agree with you about pouring any water on any animal. Animals aspirate (suck in) where humans breath in & out normally. It is not good to pour so freely any liquids on an animal's face.

I would like to add another off subject please.

I have been seeing and hearing that when people go out for rides in very hot weather they take the dog(s )with them, then decide to stop in the grocery store or stop for a bite to eat!!! It only takes a few seconds for an infant or dog of any age or size to die from the heat & humidity. I am hoping people will be active in help protecting these innocent beings, I have printed up signs for cars that have any animal sitting in the car even if all the windows are down; the humidity is a killer.

I recently was in a store for several hours an saw an older dog sitting with all windows down but barely breathing, I went and told a police officer about this dog, generally this is not my thing as I do believe in the slogan "Live & Let Live "but what about your loving pet? Granted even I need more education about life in general etc. but I do have the willingness to learn.

Thank you for allowing me to share this with others. God bless.

Replied by Jacki

I take my dog with me everywhere but I NEVER leave him in the car without the car running and the AC on and NEVER for more than a few minutes. There are many places where you can eat and sit outside with your dog right beside you and I prefer that to anything else. That being said, there are times when you have your dog with you and you have to leave your dog unattended momentarily. I wanted to mention that awareness is great and I absolutely agree that it is unforgivable to leave your pet in a hot car, BUT some people are very judgmental about how others care for their pets and it can be just ridiculous at times. I once was out riding around with my dog and decided to stop at a beer/wine store that was in a strip mall and I parked directly in front of the store, left the car running with the AC on, ran into the store and had to leave the store after less than 5 minutes because there was a woman trying to get into my car to free my dog. I could see her because I was in the store not 10 feet from my car. There was no way of mistaking the fact that the car was running with the AC on - she knew that she just simply didnt think my dog should be left alone in the car. Some people really are taking the "awareness" of leaving animals in cars too far and others continue to just leave their dogs in hot cars. For me, there is a difference between leaving your dog in an hot car with no ventilation and leaving your dog in an air-conditioned car in the shade. I would NEVER leave my dog in a crate for 8 hours either by the way...but people do that all of the time and it is considered "acceptable" to many of the same people who judge others for the way they raise their pets.

Replied by Suseeq
(Sydney, Australia)

Good on you Jacki, you like myself never leave my dogs on their own, they are under my watchful eye at all times.

Replied by Tresa
(Alexander, Arkansas)

Ill have to try this. Thank you


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Faith77fairfield (Waterloo, New York, USA) on 08/28/2009

I tried apple cider vinegar and colloidal silver and both helped but the infection kept coming back. I couldn't afford $200 the vet wanted so out of desperation I decided to use my leftover antibiotic capsule (Amoxicillian). My sister who is a nurse used my cats weight times 5 mg. antibiotic per pound and figured that a 500 mg. capsule could be divided into 16 dosages. From information I read about, I gave my cat one dosage a day for 10 days and we are now 7 days off the amoxicillian and there is no sign of the infection coming back. You can tell that it is still healing as there is crusty stuff, like scabbing still coming out of his eyes. I am glad I used the antibiotic. This cat is a stray that just showed up in my yard one day and he is a delight. Lastly, I must say I am very angry that I can't afford to go to a vet. Everything is outragious. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this sight.

Replied by Allison
(Houston, Tx)

Just a gentle reminder that anytime antibiotics are taken internally, whether for humans or for pets, it's a good idea to follow up with a course of probiotics (i.e. Lactobaccillis acidophiles, yogurt, etc.) for a week or two to replenish the good floras in the digestive tract. Even one course of antibiotics can wipe out all the good guys in your gut, which can compromise a weak immune system and create further problems down the road. I learned the hard way to have a cat that developed chronic constipation following a course of antibiotic, which eventually led to the development of a toxic mega colon that required multiple surgeries. So don't forget the probiotics anytime after completing a course of antibiotic, humans and animals.

Posted by Racer (Hampton, Tennessee) on 08/12/2009

What do you think of fish antibiotics that you can buy on line without a prescription for cats and dogs when they have an eye infection... The doses are on the internet. Is this safe? Robyn

Replied by Faith77fairfield
(Waterloo, New York)

I don't know about the fish stuff. I do know that I have used the Amoxicillian several times on my cat, another time for upper respiratory infection. Worked like a charm. I got the info off an internet site, I don't remember where, but it was vet info on dosage of amoxicillan for cats. My Skippy is doing great, although now he needs to lose a little weight.

Also, I have cured worms in 3 of my cats with diatomaceous earth. Thank God for Earth Clinic.

Replied by Robin
(Pickett, Wi)

Amoxicillin & Penicillin 250 & 500 mg are the same no matter what they are for. Fish, Cats, Dogs, Etc.

Replied by Sandra

You can buy Terramycin Eye Ointment at Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Supply online. This is an antibiotic eye ointment that will get rid of conjunctivitis after a few doses. Its the same thing the vets use and it only costs $15.99. I have used this for years and am very pleased with it.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Colloidal Silver

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Candice (Mesquite, Texas) on 09/18/2014

I was able to heal my cat's pink eye, but he had an underlying respiratory infection that needed Vet attention. Story as follows:

Over the weekend, I realized that my 6 year old cat was not feeling well. He had just endured a move a couple of weeks prior which really stressed him out, but I noticed that he was squinting and winking his left eye a lot. By Monday morning it was swollen and had yellow discharge running from the corner. I knew I couldn't get him to the vet until the end of the week, so I searched for at-home-remedies. That's when I came across the apple cider vinegar remedy. I used this in conjunction with colloidal silver to heal his eye. This is what I did:

I bought a $5 bottle of organic apple cider vinegar from the grocery store. In a small container I mixed 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 tablespoon of water. I put 3 cottonballs into the solution which absorbed it all. My cat has dense, thick, long hair - so, I parted the hair at the nape of his neck as much as I could and squeezed the solution from the cottonball onto the area. I used my fingers to really work it into his skin and saturate the hair there. After squeezing the majority of the solution from the third cottonball, I took it and wiped over his bad eye making sure to remove all of the gunk build-up.

Next, I got a small bowl and mixed the same solution: 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of water. I sat this in my bathroom sink so I wouldn't make a huge mess. I picked up my cat and saturated each foot with the solution. He did NOT like this, but I was able to get it done without too much struggle. He would then run away and lick it all off of his paws.

I did these apple cider vinegar treatments twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed starting Monday morning and ending today, which is the following Thursday.

I also have a bottle of 10ppm colloidal silver (the cost was about $12 for a 2 ounce bottle at the local health food store) that I used. I remembered colloidal silver giving me relief years ago when I had viral pink eye in both of my eyes, so after doing some research and seeing that it was safe to use on my cat - I began dropping 1-2 drops into his bad eye a couple of times a day in between the apple cider vinegar treatments.

It took a while, in fact, it wasn't until Wednesday evening that his eye started to look better. However, I knew that something just wasn't right with my baby. He was incredibly lethargic and only drank minimal amounts of water and refused to eat. I called the vet and made the appointment, the main reason being for his eye although it looked to have improved by at least 85%. When the vet saw him, she said she wasn't worried about his pink-eye, that it seemed to be healing and didn't even need any ointment. She just wanted me to continue keeping it clean. She took a rectal temp as well and it was 105 degrees. She said that a normal temperature for a cat is 101. It worried her that his pink eye was nearly healed and he still had a pretty high fever. She deduced that he had an upper respiratory infection. She gave him fluids and antibiotics so hopefully he will be on the mend soon.

I wanted to write this to let people know that the apple cider vinegar and colloidal silver method really do work wonders for pink eye, but to be careful and pay close attention to your cat because he may have more than one problem going on that the at-home-remedy isn't solving.

Replied by Cheri

Candice, next time, add Lysine to your mix and that should take care of the pink eye and respiratory infection in just a few days. I crush a 500mg pill and mix it in the infected cats' wet food (can also use yogurt or smashed sardines if the cat is finicky) or put it in some broth or something and syringe it in the mouth (last resort). Give the powder twice a day, along with the ACV (with mother) on his fur (so he has to lick it off and will ingest it) and you should see improvements within a day or two.

It is one of the things I keep it in my 'arsenal' of pet things along with the ACV (apple cider vinegar with mother) and colloidal silver.

Baby Shampoo

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by DJ (London, ON) on 09/15/2006

Washing the eyelid and conjunctivitus area with warm water and baby shampoo significantly cleared up the conjunctivitis. I didn't wait to see if washing the affected eye with baby shampoo cured the conjunctivites and pink eye, however I did notice that the affected eye was significantly better by the time I was able to get my dog into the vet's office two days later. I simply wet a face cloth with warm water and applied some baby shampoo, using the running water to foam up the shampoo, and then cleaned the eye lids and as close to the conjunctiva as I could. I reapeated this every couple of hours throughout the day. The weeping was significantly diminished. I also noticed that the next morning the eye seemed to have improved and was weeping considerably less than the morning before. She also stoped rubbing her face, and appeared to be more comfortable. I still saught anti-biotic medication from the vet to properily cure the problem.

Balsamic Vinegar

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Amy (Madison, Wi, Usa) on 12/27/2009

I decided to try some vinegar on my English Cocker Spaniel. He has a horrible problem with Conjuctivitis. He is always rubbing and scratching his eyes and they matter and he always has crusty stuff on his eyes. I didn't have any ACV so I used Balsamic Vinegar on a cotton ball on the back of his neck, right by his collar and also rubbed a little on the top of his front paws. In one day, his eyes cleared up! They aren't red anymore and I haven't seen him scratch his eyes once! Who would think that vinegar could have such a healing quality on my dogs eyes?!

Boric Acid

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Michele (Conifer, Co) on 07/26/2017

I was researching boric acid and water on a cotton ball is it supposed to clear up my dog's eye infection?

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Boric Acid Eyewash


The following recipe has been handed down through my family. Boric Acid Eyewash is very beneficial in fighting eye infections, irritation from foreign particles in the eye or contact lenses, air pollution (smog). It is very soothing. Basically, boric acid creates an inhospitable environment in eye for germs and bacteria. At the same time, it cleanses and sooths the eye.

Purchase boric acid powder at your local pharmacy. Ask the pharmacist for "medicinal" boric acid powder. (There is another type, which is used as a bug-killer.) This is very important!!!!!!!!!!

Supplies needed:

1 level teaspoon of Boric Acid Powder ((((medicinal quality))))
1 cup boiling water in a Pyrex measuring cup
Cotton balls
Small clean bowl or teacup


Boil one cup water either on the stove or in the microwave oven. (I use a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave.)
Add one level teaspoon of Boric Acid Powder (medicinal quality). Use a measuring spoon, not silverware!!!!!!! Stir until dissolved. Let cool to a luke warm temperature.

Pour 1/4 cup of the cooled solution into a small clean bowl or teacup. Soak a cotton ball in the solution in the bowl and apply to affected eye, cleaning away discharge from the eye.

Throw used cotton ball away after one use. Repeat using new cotton ball until all the solution in the bowl is used up. Try to flood the eye with the solution and wipe face with a clean towel.

Cleanse both eyes with the solution to prevent the infection from spreading to the unaffected eye.

Repeat procedure at least twice a day, in the morning and before bed at night. Eye infections usually take two or three days to resolve themselves using this treatment.

Store unused portions of eyewash in the Pyrex measuring cup. Just cover with plastic wrap to keep it sanitary.

Chamomile Tea and Lavender Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by raymarie (atlanta, usa) on 09/07/2007

2 week old kittens each had one eye crusted shut. Vet sister, who lives in another state, suspected conjunctivitis (common in newborn kittens). I steeped a chamomile tea bag, let the water cool and added 2 drops lavender essential oil. Soaked a soft cloth and bathed (do not rub) the eye area until the extra crud was removed. I repeated the process 3x per day until it cleared up! Worked awesome!

Coconut Oil

2 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
4 star (1) 

Posted by Homeremedyfan (Rochester, Ny, Usa) on 10/14/2011

My Cocker Spaniel has suffered with "pink eye" for months and months. We've tried the diluted ACV, chamomile tea, baby shampoo, loratadine tabs and antibiotic ointment. Nothing has helped. She also had a really awful ear infection which did clear up with ACV and a skin condition and smell that has all but disappeared after I read another post on this site about probiotic enzymes and started giving her two a day. I've even taken her off of commercial dog food and make my own for her in case all of these issues started as a food allergy. But the eyes remained a problem so...

I started doing some research on the benefits of organic, extra virgin coconut oil and learned that it contains lauric acid which is antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral. Thankfully, I had some on hand so I melted a little in the palm of my hand and carefully rubbed a bit of the melted oil into each eye. I've done this every day, only once a day (I leave early in the morning otherwise it would be twice) for about a week and guess what? Her eyes are improved SO much! Not perfect, mind you, but her eyes are not crusty, not nearly as red and she doesn't have the goop anymore. She actually looks like a normal dog now! I'm very happy with the results of EV coconut oil!

Replied by Niti

I have also used coconut oil with great success.

My GSD had goopy eyes for several months following a routine well visit to the vet. I tried everything without much change.

Warm, liquid coconut applied by hand once daily stopped it after just two applications!

Colloidal Silver

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Stephanie (Antelope, Ca, USA) on 08/17/2012

We have two pugs one of which had sever conjuctivitis after a trip to the park. The poor thing had white creamy drainage from his eye and and one point could harldy open his eye. We are against antibiotics on less they are truly needed. We used a combinatin of ACV and colloidal silver. We wiped his eye with ACV on a cotton ball and then flushed his eye with colloidal silver using an eye dropper twice daily. We also cleaned his paw with ACV due to him rubbing his eye with his paw. He showed improvments in a day or two and by a week the infection was gone.

Colloidal Silver
Posted by Diane (Uniontown, Pa) on 08/02/2009

I starting using colloidal silver for pinkeye for our cats several years ago. It only takes a drop or two in the eye a couple of times, (not a day, just a couple of times total) and poof! the pinkeye will be gone. It's not any more painful than a drop of water would be. Also works great for humans! Just costs a fraction of what you would pay at the vet or doctor, plus you don't need to pay for a prescription.

Replied by Ashley
(Blairsville, Pennsylvania)

I have some colloidial silver but it says on the bottle not to put it in your eyes? So is there a specific type that is safe for the eyes?

Colloidal Silver
Posted by Julie (Hancock Park, IL) on 01/02/2009

Colloidial Silver is an awesome remedy for virtually any bacterial infection; internal or external. I have cured my dog's eye and ear irritations (and my pink eye) with a couple drops, the results were immediate. It comes in drops or spray and I have both. I spray my dog's cuts, sores, rashes and teeth because it does not sting. Antibiotics are inferior to Colloidial Silver, which was commonly used before antibiotics were popularized. It is found at health food and Meijer stores and is inexpensive for its many possible uses. Research it; you'll be glad you did.

Replied by Katelyn
(Los Angeles, CA)

My dog has a thick strong smelling discharge coming from both his eyes and I wanted to try the Colloidal Silver on him. How much should I give him, he is a 7 lbs yorkie/poo.

Replied by Linda
(York County, Maine)

Katelyn - for myself, when I thought I had conjunctivitis, I would put a drop or two in the affected eye a couple of times a day. Within 3 days, my eye was clear.

Replied by Linda

Can I use colloidal silver on cats? One has a skin rash between eye and ear...reddish and itches her..if not any other suggestions..this really bothers her and I can't seem to clear it up..

Cooled Boiled Water

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by CandyPaps (Merseyside, UK) on 06/01/2009

Home Remedy for Cats? Ordinary Cooled Boiled Water!

Our poor 9yr old Daisy has suffered with feline conjuctivitus since she was a kitten, our vet said when she was 2yrs old that if she gets any more she will be blind, every year twice a year she gets glue eye and severe reddening of the lids. She also suffers with heyfever. And every year i use ordinary cooled boiled water with 4 balls of cotton wool for each eye, each ball soaked generously in the water and i wipe her eyes 4 times a day for 5 days. I do not leave the eye wet but slightly damp after dabbing with a soft cotton cloth.

The water i use is boiled from the kettle and placed in a jug to cool in the fridge, then i put the same water back into the kettle, boil it again and pour some into a clean dish to cool. the remainder of the water i tip away.

7 years later after vets saying she will be blind and offers of expensive ointments (which i continued to turn down) she is still going strong and has 20/20 vision! Our Daisy is a Pure white persian cross with very slight tortoishell markings on her head and tail and would be an extreme shame if she ended up blind. After all, pets are there for care and attention!

Corn- Free Food

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Sally (Baton Rouge, La.) on 06/06/2011

I fought conjunctivitus for 3 cats for about a year with eye sav and Lysine orally. I found that feeding them corn free food has cleared it up. I don't know why the vets never suggested it. They said (told by 3 vets) that they would always have it, that there was no cure!

Replied by Joan

Did u crush lysine tablets in your pets food? I have a cocker spaniel with constant eye infections. Using antibiotic ointment indefinitely

Replied by Katie
(Northport, New York)

My Cavalier occassionally gets eye infections (where he gets a thick yellowish-greenish discharge in his eyes), . I think he gets these infections from scratching his eye accidentally with a claw, or by scratching the eye with a branch. In the past I used to bring him to the vet for an antibiotic, until I tried Colloidal Silver with a Saline Solution wash. This works so well.

What I do is I put a couple of drops of colloidal silver in his eye (3 maybe) and then I immediately flush the eye with saline solution. Don't use colloidal silver without the saline - it will cause alot of discomfort in the eye. It would be like putting regular tap water in your eye and it will cause the eye to become very red and inflamed.

I just gave this to my dog the other night for the greenish goo in his eye. 3 drops of CS in the infected eye, followed by a flush of saline solution twice in a one day -- and by the next day the infection was completely gone.

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