Tesla Dog Mode: what is it and which cars have it?

Want a car that can keep your dog safe when you have to leave your furry friend in the car? Check out Tesla's 'Dog Mode'

James Allen
Jul 27, 2022

Tesla is known for making a variety of fully electric saloons and SUVs, though it also has a bit of a reputation for adding quirky features to its cars. Through the power of over-the-air updates - which allow you to update the car’s software via Wi-Fi - Tesla has been able to introduce additions ranging from new driver safety assistance systems, to less conventional gadgets such as an in-car karaoke system.

One over-the-air addition that leans more towards the genuinely handy rather than the gimmicky side of the spectrum is the so-called ‘Dog Mode’. As its name suggests, this is a setting specifically for when your canine companion is in the car. Keep reading for everything you need to know about this Tesla feature.

What does Tesla’s Dog Mode do?

Dog Mode on a Tesla car is designed to keep your pooch cool and comfortable, should you ever need to leave your four-legged friend alone in your car. It does this by keeping the climate control system running, even after you’ve put the car in park and left it unattended for a while.

As a way to reassure passers-by that you’re not neglecting your pet, Dog Mode also displays the current in-car temperature on the main touchscreen display, along with a prominent 'My owner will be back soon' message on the supersized media system screen.

Which Tesla cars have Dog Mode?

If you’re looking to get a used or nearly new Tesla, like the ones you can find here on BuyaCar, it’s highly likely that the car will come with Dog Mode. Every Tesla Model 3 comes with the tech needed to run the system, as do all Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X examples built after August 2017.

Because Dog Mode was made available through an over-the-air update, you’ll need to make sure that any Tesla you buy is running software that includes this feature. As Dog Mode was first introduced back in February 2019, though, there’s a good chance the Tesla you’re looking at already has it.

If you’re in doubt, you can also check the software build the car is operating via the ‘Software’ menu on the touchscreen media system. As long as the car is using version ‘2019.5.15’ or newer, the Tesla in question will have Dog Mode included.

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Everything else you need to know about Dog Mode

As handy as Dog Mode is, there are some features of the system that you need to be aware of. For example, it’s imperative that your car has sufficient charge in its battery pack to run Dog Mode for the amount of time you plan to be away from the car, and this is especially important if you need to leave your dog in the car for more than a few minutes.

This is because Dog Mode works off the car’s climate control system, which requires quite a bit of electrical energy to keep running for extended periods of time. In fact, if there’s less than 20% charge in a Tesla’s battery, you won’t be able to run Dog Mode at all.

Tesla also stresses that you must have your mobile phone on you and have the Tesla smartphone app running at all times while you’re leaving your pet unattended in the car with Dog Mode on. Doing so will mean you’ll be able to monitor the temperature inside the car - which is especially critical if you’ve left your dog in the car on a hot day and, for whatever reason, the climate control system is deactivated.

If the app is running, it will also be able to notify you if the car’s battery charge level drops below 20% while Dog Mode is running, and remind you to check on the pet you’ve left in your car.

 
 

Tesla Camp Mode

Much like Tesla Dog Mode, Camp Mode will maintain a comfortable temperature inside the cabin while using as little battery as it can, which makes it ideal for camping in the back of your Tesla. It also keeps lights and media on, rather than implementing a cut-off timer.

Reports suggest that it will use around 10-15% over an eight-hour period, with vehicles fitted with a heat pump proving more efficient. These include all Model Y cars and 2021-on Model 3s. The feature requires at least 15% battery to operate, and can be controlled from inside the car or on the smartphone app.

Tesla Keep Mode

This applies the same priciples as Dog Mode and Camp Mode, and is best used on a hot day when you want to prevent the cabin from getting too hot when you pop into a shop and expect to be back in the car soon. At the moment, it can only be turned on from inside the car, and will automatically disable the next time you enter and drive away.

Tesla Cabin Overheat Protection

This is designed to prevent the cabin from getting too hot, and kicks in automatically when the inside of a Tesla reaches 40 degrees. Users can turn it off entirely, leave it on, or leave it on in a state where it doesn't use air-conditioning which should have less of a drain on the battery. It serves as a protective measure, and on a hot day, the temperature inside can still get exceedingly hot. 

Other Tesla climate control options

From inside the app, users can turn on and off heated seats and the heated steering wheel (for vehicles equipped with these), pre-condition the car at a desired temperature before they get in, and vent or close the windows. The defrost button turned the temperature and fans to high, and is designed to demist the windows or melt ice and snow.

 

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