Dog Mode. An Inside Look at Tesla’s Pet-Friendly Feature

What is Dog Mode?

Dog Mode is a unique safety feature offered in Tesla vehicles that allows owners to keep their pets comfortable and safe while left unattended in the car. It was first introduced by Tesla in February 2019 through an over-the-air software update.

Dog Mode keeps the car’s air conditioning or heating system running even when the owner steps away, maintaining a comfortable cabin temperature for pets. Sensors detect rising temperatures and automatically adjust cooling as needed. The climate control system can run indefinitely while Dog Mode is active, so long as the battery retains sufficient charge.

To alert passersby that pets are safe and not in distress, the center touchscreen displays a message saying “My owner will be back soon” along with the current cabin temperature. This provides reassurance that pets are not trapped in an overheated car.

tesla center screen displaying dog mode message

Overall, Dog Mode provides essential temperature regulation and communication features to promote pet wellbeing. It’s designed for short-term use in moderate weather when brief periods of leave time are unavoidable.

How Does Dog Mode Work?

Dog Mode allows Tesla owners to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the car for their pets while they are away. It works by continuously regulating the climate control system once it is activated.

When Dog Mode is turned on, the touchscreen displays a message stating the cabin temperature and that the air conditioning is on for pets left inside. The message is displayed prominently on the touchscreen so people outside the vehicle know the pets are safe and not in danger.

In addition, the mobile app sends a notification when Dog Mode is enabled so owners can monitor the cabin temperature. The app displays the interior temperature and a reassuring message that the “Dog Mode” is keeping their pet comfortable. Owners can check the live camera feed in the app anytime to view their pet.

According to this source, Dog Mode maintains a comfortable temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit when activated, preventing pets from overheating on hot days.

Is Dog Mode Standard on all Tesla Models?

Dog Mode comes standard on all Tesla models produced since 2019, including the Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X (1). For older models produced before 2019, Dog Mode was not included as a standard feature. However, Tesla has offered retrofits to enable Dog Mode in older vehicles through over-the-air software updates (2).

chart showing dog mode availability by tesla model year

So in summary, if you purchase a new Tesla vehicle today, Dog Mode will be enabled by default. But for older pre-2019 Tesla models, you may need to inquire about getting a software update to add Dog Mode, as it was not standard at the time those vehicles were manufactured.

Dog Mode is considered a standard convenience feature in Tesla’s current lineup, allowing owners to keep their pets comfortable and safe while briefly stepping away from the vehicle.




Can You Add Dog Mode to Other Tesla Models?

Dog Mode was first introduced by Tesla in February 2019 as part of software version 2019.5.15 for Model 3. Since then, it has been made available across Tesla’s lineup including Model S, Model X, and Model Y.

If your Tesla was manufactured before Dog Mode was introduced, you may be able to add the feature through a software upgrade package. According to Tesla’s online design studio, the Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability packages include the Dog Mode feature.

By upgrading to these latest software versions, older Model S and Model X vehicles can enable Dog Mode. For Model 3 vehicles built before February 2019, upgrading to the premium software packages will also add Dog Mode.

Check with your local Tesla service center for details on upgrade options and pricing for your specific vehicle. The software upgrades not only add Dog Mode but also include the latest autonomous driving features and UI improvements.

So while Dog Mode doesn’t come standard on every Tesla, most models can have the feature enabled through software updates. This allows Tesla vehicles to continually add new capabilities over time through over-the-air updates.

What Temperature Does Dog Mode Maintain?

dog inside tesla with temperature set to 70f

Dog Mode allows Tesla owners to set a specific target temperature that will be maintained in the cabin while Dog Mode is active. According to Tesla’s official owners manual, Dog Mode aims to keep the interior temperature at or below 105°F/40°C1. This ensures dogs left unattended in the vehicle do not get overheated.

The climate control system works to reach and hold the set temperature by running the air conditioning, heating, or circulating cabin air as needed. Owners can monitor the interior temperature via the Tesla app to make sure it stays at a safe level for their pet.

105°F is generally considered a safe temperature threshold for dogs. Maintaining the cabin at or below this level provides a comfortable environment and reduces the risk of heatstroke on hot days. The Dog Mode system prioritizes pet safety by proactively regulating the temperature.

How Long Can You Safely Leave a Dog in Dog Mode?

Tesla recommends not leaving a pet unattended in Dog Mode for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. However, technically, you can safely leave Dog Mode on for several hours, depending on the battery charge level and weather conditions.

With a fully charged battery, a Tesla vehicle can maintain climate control in Dog Mode for 10-12 hours in moderate weather. In more extreme heat or cold, that time will be reduced. For example, in very hot conditions over 90°F, Dog Mode may only last 3-4 hours before draining the battery.

It’s best to check on your pet at least every 10-15 minutes when using Dog Mode. Set an alarm or reminder on your phone if needed. Only leave them longer if absolutely necessary, and never leave them overnight unattended in Dog Mode.[1]

Monitor the cabin temperature display and battery level. Once the battery drops below 20%, Dog Mode will turn off climate control to preserve charge for essential vehicle functions. At that point, you need to return promptly to avoid endangering your pet.[2]

Use good judgment on maximum time limits based on weather, charge level, and your pet’s needs. Erring on the side of caution is best when utilizing Dog Mode.

Does Dog Mode Work When the Car is Off?

Unfortunately, Tesla’s Dog Mode only functions when the car is turned on. When the vehicle is powered off, Dog Mode shuts off as well, according to Tesla’s official website [1]. This is because Dog Mode relies on the climate control system to regulate the temperature, which requires power from the battery.

Some Tesla owners have tested shutting the car off while Dog Mode is active to see what happens. They’ve reported that as soon as the vehicle powers down, the temperature starts rising to match the ambient temperature outside the car. The touchscreen also indicates Dog Mode has been deactivated.

Therefore, it’s important not to shut your Tesla off while leaving your pet inside in Dog Mode. The temperature could spike to dangerously hot levels, putting your dog at risk of heat stroke. Dog Mode is designed to provide a safe environment for pets only when the car remains on.

What Other Pet Safety Features Does Tesla Offer?

In addition to Dog Mode, Tesla vehicles offer other features focused on pet safety and comfort:

Bioweapon Defense Mode – This setting is designed to provide maximum air filtration inside the cabin. It can help remove allergens and provide cleaner air for pets sensitive to particulates or chemicals. The HEPA filtration system traps particles as small as 0.3 microns 1.

Remote temperature control – The mobile app allows owners to check and adjust the cabin temperature remotely. This ensures pets left in the vehicle won’t get too hot or cold 2.

Dog harness attachments – Some Tesla models have harness attachments in the rear seats to safely secure dogs during trips 1.

Spacious interiors – Teslas provide ample room for pets to sit, lie down, and move around comfortably.

With Tesla’s pet-friendly philosophy, owners can bring their furry companions along in a safer and more enjoyable environment.

Interesting Uses of Dog Mode

Dog Mode has enabled Tesla owners to safely keep their pets in the car in a variety of situations. Here are some fun examples of how owners are utilizing this innovative feature:

examples of owners using dog mode for activities

Many owners use Dog Mode while quickly running errands like grabbing takeout food, stopping at convenience stores, or running other short tasks where they cannot bring their dog inside. This gives pet owners peace of mind knowing their furry friend stays comfortable.

Dog Mode also allows owners to leave their pets during longer activities like dining out at restaurants, watching movies, getting haircuts or medical appointments, and more. One owner even left his dog while attending a 3 hour Avenger’s Endgame movie!

Owners have gotten creative with using Dog Mode during extended shopping trips, picking up kids from school, and even going in for half-day medical procedures. The possibilities are endless thanks to the safety and convenience Dog Mode provides.

Dog Mode enables responsible pet owners to balance their busy lives while keeping their furry companions comfortable. With proper use, it’s a win-win for owners and pets alike!

The Importance of Proper Pet Safety

While Dog Mode can provide peace of mind for pet owners, it’s still important to take proper precautions when leaving pets unattended in vehicles. As the AVMA notes, “Pets should never be left unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows partially open, as temperatures inside can still reach deadly levels within minutes.”

Even with safety features like Dog Mode, pet owners should avoid leaving dogs alone in the car for more than a few minutes. It’s also critical to ensure proper restraints are used to keep pets secure and prevent distraction while driving. As Progressive advises, “If you’re traveling with pets in a car, securing them with a crash-tested carrier, crate, or harness can help protect them – and you – in case of an accident.”

While incredibly useful, Dog Mode is not a substitute for diligent pet safety practices. Owners should stay with their pets whenever possible, keep travel times short, monitor the vehicle temperature, and take steps to prevent overheating emergencies.

Scroll to Top