Dear Heloise: I see so many people driving with their dogs sitting right next to them, sometimes called “riding shotgun.” This cannot be safe. Am I right?

— Concerned Canine Commentator

Concerned, you’re correct to be concerned. The dog must be properly re-strained in the vehicle. In the front seat, the dog is too close to the airbag. Airbag deployment can seriously injure or even kill the dog.

The dog should be held in the backseat, in a carrier or even a seatbelt. To get the dog accustomed to riding in the backseat, use treats and keep rides short. Ask your veterinarian for more advice about riding in the car with the dog.

— Heloise

Where to write: Got a hint you want to share? Send your tips and tricks to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000. Send a fax to 1-210-HELOISE, or email