“Dog Mode” & “Pet Mode” Explained (For Beginners)

Perhaps you are a dog lover and you enjoy trips with your pets, but you’re worried about leaving them in the car as the cabin may become stuffy.

With the dog mode offered in Teslas, you do not have to worry about your pets left in the car as the pet mode keeps the cabin temperature convenient for your dog. 

However, this mode is only available in Tesla cars alone. It pushed this feature through an over-the-air software update in 2019.

In this article, we would carefully explain the benefits, maintenance, issues and usage of this dog mode in electric cars.

What Does “Dog Mode” Mean?

Dog mode is a part of the climate control that will maintain the temperature of your cabin. The mode is connected to the cabin overheat protection feature added in 2018.

Tesla included the feature when a Tesla owner requested a dog mode for his pet. It uses both the heating and the cooling system to allow your pet to breathe conveniently while you are out of the car.

How Does This Dog Mode Work?

You turn it on from the display screen of your car.

This system will start functioning as you leave the vehicle. It adds a description on the screen for passersby to see that the dog is safe. The message pops up as “my owner will be back soon” ‌to reassure people around. 

It also gives the luxury of a voice command to either activate or deactivate the feature while away. To keep this feature active, your battery must be charged to at least 20% because the heating and air conditioning are directly powered by the battery.

However, not to worry, notifications will be sent to the owner once the battery drops below 20%, alerting you to get back to your furry pet in time.

Another luxury connected to this feature is that you don’t need the premium connectivity to get your timely notifications, but you will need at least cell phone coverage to monitor the temperature of the car.

However, it is important to note that the dog mode and sentry mode cannot run simultaneously. To be clear, a sentry mode is a safety system installed on all Tesla models designed to record activities around the car.

What Model of the Tesla Have This Dog Mode Feature?

All Tesla models have this feature to the exclusion of one.

Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y have this mode while the Tesla Roadster does not feature it.

The model S and X have the biggest space which can accommodate over one pet for a longer ‌time.

Glitches With This Dog Mode

A complaint was brought to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, via his Twitter handle. One Mr. Rahul claimed the dog mode turned off when he changed the settings of the fan manually.

The CEO promptly responded to this complaint and stated that they would work on the malfunction, but in the meantime, he advised owners to always double-check their settings before heading out.

Benefits of This Dog Mode Feature

Here are some benefits of the dog mode feature:


The pet mode has earned praises from Tesla owners for the convenience it now provides. Owners do not have to worry about leaving their dogs in the car when running errands or going on trips.

They can make as many stops as possible.

All they need to do is to put on this climate control setting and monitor it. Furthermore, it gives clarity to passersby when they see the notification written on the Tesla screen.


More often than not, before they introduced this feature, car owners have been reprimanded and sometimes gotten their windows smashed for leaving their pets in the vehicle.

This new feature has reduced the worries of owners as it offers safety and assurance to the driver, pet and passersby.

Related: 13 Electric Vehicles With Range Extenders (With Prices)

Laws Guiding the Use of the Dog Mode

This use of the dog mode is legal in all states, but some animal groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have certain doubts about the utility of the feature.

PETA claimed that technology could fail at any time, although they were thankful for this tech feature as it has saved the lives of several pets; it is still best to leave your pets at home. They considered it safer than relying on technology.

Another concern was that car owners could abuse this new mode. Many could, for this reason, ‌neglect their pets for far too long and this may reduce their safety because passerby could break their windows to assist the poor pets.

Thus, it is advised that if you cannot leave your pet at home for certain reasons, do not leave them for a long in the car and if convenient, leave some extra loud signs on your windows to reassure people especially if you have a window tint.

Upcoming Cars to Have the Dog Mode 

This feature by Tesla has led to the rise of other car models to adopt this style.

According to our research, Ford is the next car company planning to adopt this feature on their two electric vehicles (the Mustang Mach-E and the F- 150 Lightning).

Ford talks about improving the tech feature of this pet mode by connecting it to the wireless key fob for more comfort. It says the key fob would be able to lower the windows, fold the seats for more room or even open the sunroof.

This purpose is basically to make vehicles more pet-friendly.

In addition, Ford also published that the system might include an RFID sensor that connects to the RFID tag. An RFID is a wireless system that has a tiny radio transporter that sends digital data from the RFID tag back to the user.

It is used to track goods, objects, people and even animals. The RFID tag would allow people to know if there’s a dog present in a car. 

Related: 3 Affordable Electric Cars With All Wheel Drive (With Prices)


Here are some frequently asked question about the dog mode and their answers:

How Long Can You Leave the Dog Mode On?

Climate control is one heavy feature of a car that drains its battery and the heater and air conditioning are directly powered by the Tesla’s battery. However, the amount of power consumed depends entirely on the weather.

For instance, in an icy region, the car will use more energy to keep the cabin at the desired temperature.

A rough estimate is that the dog mode can stay on for about 18 hours as it drains just 2-3% per hour.

The time also can differ depending on what part of the HVCA system you are using.

How Do You Turn the Dog Mode Off?

On getting back to the vehicle, the dog mode will automatically turn off. It is programmed to remain on if you leave and return in a minute.

How Do You Turn on the Dog Mode?

Here’s how to turn on the dog mode in a Tesla:

  1. The first step is to put your vehicle in park, as the dog mode will only activate when it is in this position.
  2. Then tap on the fan icon on the display screen, at the right, you’ll see the climate modes.
  3. Press the dog and camp mode. The camp mode allows the owner to control the lights, airflow, temperature and even music.

The temperature desired can be adjusted through the climate control settings. 

Related: Electric Cars & CC Numbers? (Power Output Explained)

Is the Dog Mode Necessary?

The dog mode is not a necessity, but then neither are radios, music, games, AC, etc. They introduced the dog mode to make lives easier.

If you are getting an expensive car, you might as well enjoy the exclusive features that come with it.

What Temperature Does the Pet Mode Set for Your Dog?

The dog mode gives a range between 68 and 74 degrees for you to choose from. Perhaps, you forgot to set a temperature before leaving, the pet mode will automatically default to 72 degrees.

Added to its luxury, it can deactivate the movement sensor and would send a notification to the owner, if the temperature gets too high or low.


Tesla Dog Mode Explained | findmyelectric.com

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