All About Tesla Dog Mode

Let’s see exactly how Tesla Dog Mode works and its pros and cons.
Written by Lisa Steuer McArdle
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Very few car companies can match (or even come close) to the technological feats achieved by
. Its vehicles come packed with tons of tools and quirky features that make the whole experience futuristic and, generally, more convenient for the car user. So much so that the company has been dubbed the world's biggest robotics company.
Sure, autopilot, Smart Summon and key card access are all impressive, but for the avid dog lover, there's none more thoughtful than Telsa Dog Mode. As the name suggests, Tesla Dog Mode is a feature meant specifically for your dog. When activated, it works to keep your furry companion safe and cool when you leave it in the car (even in the hot summer).
Wondering whether or not Dog Mode is good for you? Let’s see exactly how Tesla Dog Mode works and its pros and cons.

The Tesla Dog Mode!

Like many other “brilliant” innovations of today, the origin story of Tesla's Dog Mode began on social media. A Tesla fan responded to Tesla CEO Elon Musk's tweet, requesting that Tesla introduce a Dog Mode feature. Surprisingly, Musk replied with a simple “yes,” only to have it actualized soon after.
So what is Dog Mode, you ask?
To put it simply, Dog Mode is basically a climate control feature, which leaves your Tesla's air conditioning on when you leave your pet in your car. It can either keep the heat turned up if it is cold or the AC on when it is hot.
MORE: Does Tesla's 'Safety Score' Really Show if You're Driving Safely?
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So how does Dog Mode work exactly?

To access Dog Mode, you simply need to navigate to your climate control settings. Then click on the fan icon (at the bottom of the screen) and choose the "Dog" option on the far right. It will be under "keep climate on."
Once you exit your car, the screen will automatically display the message: "My owner will be back soon. Don't worry! The heater is on, and it's XX degrees."
Thanks to Tesla's giant battery pack, the temperature will remain exactly where you left it until you come back. If you go for too long and the battery drops below 20%, you'll receive a push notification on your phone prompting you to go back to your pet.
Now, since Dog Mode was introduced back in February 2019, it is safe to assume that every Tesla model built after 2019 will come with the feature. As per
Car and Driver
, it is also available in models that were built after August 2017 since they have the tech required to run the system. This includes Tesla Model 3, Model S, and Model X.
Since the feature was availed through over-the-air updates, you should be able to get it once you make a software update. If you are unsure, check the software menu on your screen. If your car has the version 2019.5.15 or a later version, it should have Dog Mode.

The pros of Tesla Dog Mode

Studies have proven that a car parked in the sun for only an hour can reach and exceed temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the spring. It's even worse in the summer, when temperatures go as high as 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This is enough to dehydrate your dog, causing heat stroke and even death, sometimes in less than 10 minutes.
So the question remains, does Dog Mode work well enough to prevent this?
Well, according to
, the Tesla Dog Mode feature works quite well. And it should be able to maintain the temperature that you set while you are away. Perhaps the best thing about it is that Teslas are able to turn on the AC without the car being on (unlike gasoline-powered vehicles which would have to be left running for the AC to work).
MORE: Tesla Autopilot Leads to Another Crash Into a Police Car

The cons

Of course, even with all its handiness, Dog Mode doesn't come without its drawbacks. For starters, your car needs to have sufficient charge to run Dog Mode throughout. For this reason, you are advised not to leave your dog in your car for more than a couple of minutes. In fact, you can't run Dog Mode if your charge is less than 20%.
Also, Tesla insists that you have your mobile phone with you at all times and the Tesla smartphone app runs when you leave Dog Mode on. This way, you can monitor the temperature within the car. The app will notify you the moment your charge falls below 20%. It will also send you reminders to check on your pet.
According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the Dog Mode might provide a false sense of security since the air conditioning and engines can cut off. The notice telling people that everything is alright might dissuade a passerby from intervening if the technology malfunctions.
It is also worth noting that it might not be as easy to spot the message unless someone is actively looking for it. There is always the risk that a well-wisher might shatter your window to rescue your dog without knowing. You'd be wise also to leave a note on your window.
Lastly, when Dog Mode is on, Tesla's other feature, sentry mode, automatically disables. Sentry mode is where the car uses its cameras as a car alarm system. Usually it starts recording if it senses that a person is moving too close to the car or might cause harm. Therefore, by activating Dog Mode, your car will be a little less secure.
It is for this exact reason that vehicle owners are urged to take up insurance. For this, check out
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