chihuahuaQ: I have a small chihuahua; she recently started losing weight when we got a new dog. Is there anything I can give her to make her start gaining weight? She has never really been a big eater, and I am afraid to give her dog treats off the shelf. I have seen on the news that peoples pets have been dying from certain dog treats.

A: Weight loss can be due to many things. Your Chihuahua may simply be exercising more with a new friend to play with. In that case, just a little more food is in order. I am concerned that there could be a medical reason for the weight loss. Parasites, which are often carried by young dogs, age related illnesses and even skin disease can lead to weight loss. If the weight does not come back quickly, a visit to the vet is in order. As far as treats go, they are no more dangerous than anything else we buy at the grocery store, but treats should never be used as a nutritional supplement – only for behavioral rewards. Thanks for posting! – Dr. Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP