Your Complete Guide to Tesla Dog Mode: From Activation to Safety Tips

Tesla Dog Mode

Your Complete Guide to Tesla Dog Mode:
From Activation to Safety Tips

Dog Mode is a safety feature in Tesla vehicles designed to maintain a comfortable cabin temperature for your pet when you leave your vehicle. The Tesla touchscreen displays the current cabin temperature to inform concerned passersby that your pet is safe. This feature is available in all Tesla models.

What is Tesla Dog Mode?

Tesla Dog Mode allows you to set the interior temperature of your vehicle, so that you can leave your pet inside at a comfortable and safe temperature.  Dog Mode also displays a notification on the touch screen to assure concerned passersby that the owner will return soon, and shows them the current temperature inside the vehicle. 

How to Turn on Tesla Dog Mode

Tesla Dog Mode can be activated from inside the vehicle using the touch screen or your Tesla App. Your battery level must be above 20%.

To turn on Tesla Dog Mode using the Touchscreen:

  1. Place the vehicle in Park (by pressing the button on the end of the right stock). Dog Mode cannot be enabled until the vehicle is in Park.
  2. Adjust the climate settings to the desired cabin temperature.
  3. Tap the temperature icon to bring up the climate screen (bottom of touchscreen).
  4. Tap the Dog icon (on the right hand side of the screen). A warning will appear on the screen advising you that the climate and the screen will stay on after you exit the car and that Sentry Mode will still be active (if turned on).
Tesla Dog Mode screen

To turn on Tesla Dog Mode using the Tesla App

  1. Ensure the vehicle is in Park. Dog Mode cannot be enabled until the vehicle is in Park.
  2. Open the Tesla App and go to Climate
  3. Scroll down and click on Dog Mode
  4. Adjust the climate settings to the desired cabin temperature.
Tesla dog mode from Tesla app

Pro Tips:

  • Once you exit the car, the Tesla Dog Mode screen will appear to let passersby know the cabin temperature, and assure them that you’ll return to your vehicle soon.
  • Want extra peace of mind? Our dog-loving Tesla owners recommend setting a timer on your phone for 5 minutes (or a shorter duration depending on the outside temperature).  When your timer goes off, check the Tesla app to make sure Dog Mode is still active and that your vehicle is at the set temperature. Reset the timer, and continue checking your Tesla app until you return to your vehicle.
Tesla Dog mode enabled in the app

Does Tesla Sentry Mode Work with Dog Mode?

A 2022 Tesla update allows Sentry Mode to work when Dog Mode is active. Your vehicle will record suspicious activities around your Tesla and give you peace of mind when Sentry Mode is on. If you have Premium Connectivity, you can also view the cameras remotely to keep an extra eye on your pet and your vehicle.   

How Long Can You Leave Tesla Dog Mode On?

Dog Mode will generally drain the battery by 2-3% per hour, although this varies depending on the outside temperature and weather conditions, the cabin’s temperature setting and the efficiency of your Tesla’s climate systems. In newer Teslas, climate systems are optimized to reduce battery drain. We see this in the new heat pumps installed in the 2021 models. These optimized systems generally have a power drain of 1-2 kWh per hour.  

To keep your your pet safe, ensure your Tesla is charged and check on your pet frequently in-person or by using your Tesla app or interior cameras (for Premium Connectivity subscribers).

What Happens if the Battery Gets Low While Using Dog Mode?

If your battery drops below 20% while in Dog Mode, the Tesla app will start sending you notifications advising you to check on the pet you have left inside your vehicle.

We recommend that you check your Tesla app every 5 minutes (or more frequently depending on the weather) to make sure your vehicle is still in Dog Mode and operating correctly. This can easily be done by setting a timer on your phone. 

Tesla dog mode climate setting in app

Why Using Tesla Dog Mode is Important

Even on mild sunny days, leaving your dog in the car could be dangerous. Dogs have a limited ability to sweat, so extreme heat can cause serious harm and even death to your pet. Your Tesla also has more glass than the average vehicle, allowing bright sunlight in. In 70-degree weather (21 C), the interior of your Tesla can reach over 100 degrees (38 C) in just 20 minutes.  

Similar to hot temperatures, cold temperatures can also be very harmful to your dog. Teslas have very little insulation and your car will quickly fall to the outside temperature. Your dog’s breathing will increase humidity inside the car while the temperature falls, creating a refrigerator effect. Dogs could quickly develop frost bite, become hypothermic and even die.

Ensuring your Tesla stays at a comfortable temperature will help to protect your pet.

How to Turn Off Tesla Dog Mode

To turn off Dog Mode and return the vehicle to your normal settings, simply sit in the driver’s seat and press down on the brake pedal. Dog Mode is designed to stay active when you open the driver’s door and even if you sit in the driver’s seat. It will disable only when you press the brake pedal. Once you touch the brake pedal, you must activate Dog Mode again.

Tesla Dog Mode Screen

Dog Mode can also be disabled by going back into the touch screen and clicking on the ‘Dog’ button again. This will toggle the mode button back to grey.

Lastly, you can use the Tesla mobile app to turn off Dog Mode. Tap on Climate, then on the bottom left tap the power button so that it reads ‘Off’.

Pro Tip: A good habit is to check the touchscreen when you exit the vehicle to ensure that the Dog Mode notification is on and active.

Never turn off Dog Mode remotely, while your dog is still in the car!

Window Locks in Dog Mode:
Prevent your Dog from Rolling Down the Windows 

One of our readers asked: “I love Dog Mode. However, my dog likes to roll down the window, jump out, and come with me! Is there a way to lock window controls while in Dog Mode?”

We experienced a similar issue with our adventurous dog! We put our Tesla in Dog Mode and started to walk away to let the Tesla self-lock. Our dog would jump on the door handle and start rolling down the window before the car self-locked. 

Our team tested Dog Mode and discovered that the windows will not roll down while in Dog Mode, but only after the car is fully locked.

The solution is to activate Dog Mode, exit the vehicle and then use the Tesla app or a card key to lock the car. This will prevent the windows from rolling down! 

Tesla Dog Mode vs Camp Mode

Tesla Dog Mode and Camp Mode have some similarities. Tesla Dog Mode will maintain a safe and comfortable interior temperature for pets and display a message on the touch screen for concerned passersby.

Tesla Camp Mode also maintains a set interior temperature, but also allows occupants to power electronics. In Camp Mode, the touch screen remains active to allow occupants to use all of the Tesla controls including Tesla Theatre and video games. Camp Mode is the preferred option for when a human is staying inside the car.

Tesla Dog Mode is a useful safety feature for Tesla pet owners.  You can now bring your furry companion with you during extreme temperatures, while making quick stops (Starbucks’ Puppuccinos anyone?) Dog Mode helps to ensure our beloved pets will be comfortable and safe inside our vehicles.


Is it legal to leave a dog in a Tesla with Dog Mode?

Laws regarding leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle are designed to protect pets from being left in dangerous conditions, like extreme heat or cold. Laws
vary depending on the jurisdiction. In some areas, it may be legal to leave a dog in your vehicle with Tesla Dog Mode activated, while in others, it may be illegal or subject to specific regulations.

Tesla Dog Mode is designed to maintain a comfortable and safe temperature inside the vehicle. Know the laws in your area and don’t leave your pet unattended for long periods, even when Dog Mode is active. Monitor pets closely using the Tesla app, interior cameras or with frequent check-ins.

Can I customize the message displayed on my Tesla’s touchscreen when it’s in Dog Mode?

At this time, it’s not possible to customize the message. Tesla’s automated message tells passersby the owner will return soon and displays the temperature of the interior cabin.

Why is Tesla Dog Mode missing from the touchscreen?

The Dog Mode icon will not appear until the vehicle is in Park and the battery is above 20%.

Does Tesla Dog Mode use a lot of battery?

When Dog Mode is active, the battery drain is about 2-3% per hour, depending on exterior temperatures and weather conditions, the desired cabin temperature and the efficiency of the climate control system. Newer Tesla models with optimized climate systems, like those equipped with heat pumps, consume around 1-2 kWh per hour, which helps reduce battery drain.

Does Tesla Dog Mode disable Sentry Mode?

An update in 2022 now allows Sentry Mode to work while Dog Mode is enabled.

Does Tesla Dog Mode lock the doors?

Tesla Dog Mode does not automatically lock the doors when activated. When you enable Dog Mode, the primary functions are to maintain a comfortable cabin temperature for your pet and to display a message on the touch screen to inform passersby that the pet is safe.

To lock the doors while using Dog Mode, you can:
– Walk away from the vehicle with your paired smartphone, allowing the Tesla to lock itself automatically (if you have the ‘Walk Away Door Lock’ feature enabled in the settings).
– Use the Tesla app to lock the doors after you’ve enabled Dog Mode and exited the vehicle.
– Manually lock the doors using the key card or key fob (if your Tesla model comes with one of these options).

Remember to always check that the doors are locked and that the Dog Mode screen is active on the touch screen before leaving your pet inside the vehicle.

Can I play music in my Tesla while Dog Mode is active?

When Tesla Dog Mode is activated, all music sources (streaming, AM/FM radio) are disabled once the driver exits the vehicle.

Should I leave my anxious pet in the vehicle with Tesla Dog Mode?

Anxious pets can become stressed and agitated when left alone. This can lead to self-harming behaviors and injury, excessive vocalizing or damage to the vehicle. Know your pet and don’t leave anxious pets alone, even with Dog Mode. Talk to your vet or canine behavioral expert about reducing your pet’s anxiety.

When leaving your pet alone in your Tesla for the first time, monitor their response. Activate Dog Mode, exit the vehicle and watch your pet’s behavior from a short distance away until you’re assured they are calm and safe. Continue to monitor them using the cabin’s interior cameras (if you have subscribed to Premium Connectivity). Cargo liners are helpful to protect your vehicle from scratches, slobber and fur balls.

Which Tesla Models have Dog Mode?

All Tesla models have the Dog Mode feature and operate in the same manner.

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Darren Globe

Darren is a Tesla EV owner, Professional Firefighter and former Paramedic. His experience and passion for EVs inspired him to create, where he works as CEO and Chief Editor. Darren is a recognized Tesla expert featured in and referenced by MSN, Yahoo and in numerous forums, websites and social media.

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