Tesla’s Dog Mode. Keeping Your Pets Cool Since 2019


Founded in 2003, Tesla was the first company to produce a fully electric vehicle that offered high performance and long range. Led by Elon Musk, Tesla has focused on pushing the boundaries of vehicle technology, introducing innovations such as touchscreen displays, over-the-air software updates, and advanced driver assistance systems known as Autopilot.

In keeping with its mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, Tesla is constantly developing new features that enhance the experience of owning and operating its cars. One such innovation is Dog Mode, introduced in 2019.

What is Dog Mode?

tesla's dog mode allows owners to leave climate control running for unattended pets.

Tesla’s Dog Mode is a feature that allows owners to keep climate control running in the vehicle cabin when they need to step away and leave pets inside. As described in Tesla’s owner manual, Dog Mode allows the temperature inside the car to remain at a set point so dogs and other pets stay comfortable while unattended in the vehicle.

According to Tesla’s website, “When Dog Mode is on, the touchscreen displays the current cabin temperature to passersby so they know your pet is safe.” [1] The climate control system continues operating even after you leave your pet, so they don’t overheat in warmer weather or get too cold in colder temperatures.

Development of Dog Mode

Dog Mode was first added by Tesla in a software update in 2019 after numerous requests from Tesla owners who wanted a way to keep their pets comfortable and safe while left unattended in the vehicle. Prior to the introduction of Dog Mode, owners had to make the difficult choice between not running the AC and letting the car get hot, or keeping the AC on and risking a Good Samaritan breaking a window to “rescue” an animal that appeared in distress. This led to many owners asking Tesla via social media and other channels to find a solution (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/13/tesla-rolls-out-dog-mode-to-keep-pets-cool-inside-the-car.html).

How Dog Mode Works

Dog Mode allows Tesla owners to keep their pets comfortable while briefly stepping away from the vehicle. It maintains the cabin temperature at a set level to prevent dogs and other animals from overheating. Owners simply select the temperature like they would for the human passengers.[1] The temperature can be adjusted anywhere from 40-102°F to keep pets cool and prevent heatstroke on hot days or warm on cold days.

Sensors throughout the vehicle monitor the temperature and adjust the HVAC system as needed. The touchscreen displays the cabin temperature so owners can check on the conditions from outside the vehicle. Dog Mode works similarly to Sentry Mode, drawing a small amount of energy from the battery to power the climate control system. It keeps the fan running and air circulating even when the car is locked and powered down.

Display Information

dog mode maintains the set cabin temperature using the hvac system.

When Dog Mode is enabled in a Tesla vehicle, a message displays prominently on the center touchscreen indicating that the owner has left a pet in the car and providing the current cabin temperature. According to Tesla’s 2021 Model Y owner’s manual, this message typically states “My owner will be back soon. Don’t worry! The A/C is on and it’s [72°F] inside.” The temperature reading updates in real time so passersby can see the conditions inside the cabin.

This message is designed to clearly indicate to people looking in the vehicle that the pet is safe and being monitored. Having the temperature visible offers reassurance that the climate control system is actively maintaining a comfortable environment inside. The animated dog icon on the display further signals that a pet is present. Overall, the information presented aims to prevent well-intentioned bystanders from breaking into the vehicle out of concern for the animal’s welfare.

Safety Features

Tesla’s Dog Mode includes several important safety features to keep pets safe while left unattended in the vehicle. One key feature is a limited time dogs can be left alone. Dog Mode automatically shuts off after a certain number of hours, preventing owners from accidentally leaving pets for excessively long periods. According to Tesla’s website, Dog Mode will turn off after 12 hours for Model S/X vehicles and 4 hours for Model 3/Y vehicles.

Another safety feature is that Dog Mode locks the doors so pets cannot accidentally exit the vehicle and endanger themselves. Owners have to use their Tesla app to manually unlock the doors once they return. This ensures dogs stay securely inside. Overall, these safety precautions help give pet owners peace of mind about using Dog Mode responsibly.

Reception by Owners

Dog Mode has received largely positive feedback from Tesla owners who use it to keep their pets comfortable and safe while briefly stepping away from the vehicle.

Many owners report that Dog Mode provides valuable peace of mind knowing their dogs will remain in a temperature controlled environment. Owners appreciate being able to monitor the vehicle’s interior temperature and receive alerts if it becomes too hot or cold [1].

many tesla owners appreciate dog mode for peace of mind when leaving pets.

The information displayed on the touchscreen lets passersby know dogs are safe inside, which owners say helps avoid well-intentioned but unnecessary rescue attempts. Owners are able to instantly provide proof that their dogs are not in danger.

While largely positive, some owners pointed out a potential issue with Dog Mode needing to be used in conjunction with manual climate control fan settings [2]. However, Tesla responded quickly that they were working on a fix.

Impact on Pets

Tesla’s Dog Mode has had a significant positive impact on the wellbeing and safety of pets left in vehicles. By allowing owners to maintain a comfortable temperature, Dog Mode helps keep dogs and other pets cool in the summer heat and warm in the winter cold. According to Tesla, Dog Mode can maintain temperatures of up to 102°F for up to 12 hours (Source), which is sufficient for quick errands and stops.

In addition to temperature regulation, Dog Mode also reduces risk by displaying the current temperature and a message on the center touchscreen stating that the owner will return soon. This provides clear information for passersby who might otherwise be inclined to break into the vehicle out of concern for the pet’s welfare. By reassuring the public that the pet is safe, Dog Mode prevents well-intentioned but unnecessary rescue attempts. Overall, Tesla’s Dog Mode innovation has been a game changer for owners, allowing them to run errands without endangering their pets.


Dog Mode first became available in Tesla vehicles in February 2019 via an over-the-air software update to Tesla owners with Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability packages. It was initially only available in Model 3 vehicles before expanding to other Tesla models.

As of 2022, Dog Mode is available in the following Tesla vehicles that have the Premium Connectivity package:

  • Model 3 – Available since February 2019
  • Model Y – Available since January 2020
  • Model S – Available since September 2019
  • Model X – Available since September 2019

So in summary, Dog Mode is available in all current Tesla models (Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X) as long as the vehicle has the Premium Connectivity package. This connectivity package costs $10/month and enables various connected services like satellite maps, music streaming, video streaming, and Dog Mode.

According to Tesla’s website, connectivity packages with Dog Mode are available on Tesla vehicles built after August 2017. So any Model 3, Model Y, Model S, or Model X built since late 2017 should be capable of supporting Dog Mode if the owner adds Premium Connectivity.[1]


In summary, Tesla’s Dog Mode is an innovative feature that provides pet owners with peace of mind when they need to leave their dogs behind in their vehicles. Introduced in 2019, Dog Mode allows Tesla owners to maintain a comfortable cabin temperature for their pets while also alerting passersby that the dog is safe through the vehicle’s display screen. Key benefits of Dog Mode include:

dog mode debuted in 2019 and is now available in all current tesla models.

  • Maintains comfortable temperature in cabin when in Dog Mode
  • Sensors monitor cabin temperature and displays it on center screen
  • Center screen displays message that pets are safe and owner will return
  • activates HVAC system as needed
  • Owners can monitor the car’s interior conditions remotely via mobile app
  • Provides pet owners peace of mind when leaving pets behind briefly

With its innovative Dog Mode, Tesla has found a way to provide pet owners with the ability to safely keep their companions comfortable when circumstances call for briefly leaving them unattended in their vehicles.

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