Tesla’s Dog Mode is reportedly in ruff shape — what you need to know

Tesla Model 3 in white on road
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Perhaps the most considerable appeal of a Tesla is the cool tech tucked inside. One such feature is called Dog Mode. Basically, it's designed to let owners leave their dogs in the car safely because the car regulates the temperature to keep the pup safe and comfortable. However, according to new reports, Dog Mode has issues and could leave your furry friend in unsafe temperatures while you're out and about.

The report first came from a Reddit user (via Road and Track) claiming that firmware version 2024.20.1 isn't cooling the car the way it should, potentially leaving their dogs in dangerous heat. "I left my dog in the car this morning with dog mode on and set to 19C, as it's pretty hot out today, 30C at the time. Ten minutes after leaving the car, I got a "Problem with Dog Mode" warning on my phone... it was 29C in the car and rising fast when I ran out to save my boy," reads the post.

dog mode in Tesla with dog in front seat

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Thankfully, the phone alerted the user that the Dog Mode wasn't working correctly, or the result could have been far more catastrophic for the innocent animal. They also claimed that the air conditioner was having difficulty keeping up with the cooling in the car's Keep Climate On mode, so it could be an issue with the HVAC system while the vehicle isn't moving. They've since updated their post to say that Keep is working again but that they haven't tried Dog Mode yet.

The user reported the issue to Tesla but was told that the company needed to send it to the technical review team to figure out what was happening. Later, the company responded, "Our remote test did confirm a firmware issue with dog mode at this time, still under investigation [...] please refrain from using dog mode for the time being."

Leaving a dog in a car for an extended period is never a good idea whether your vehicle has a Dog Mode or not. This is an example of why trusting a feature like Dog Mode with your pet's life is a poor decision. Thankfully, there have been no reports of dogs perishing due to the malfunctioning feature, but it could happen, and it's just not worth the risk. 

The initial report was a week ago, and we've yet to hear anything official from Tesla regarding the matter. An update was pushed with the version number 2024.20.3. It mentions that "the A/C cools the cabin down faster," but it never explicitly calls out a fix to Dog Mode. For the time being, we'd recommend avoiding the mode until there's a fix. 

Or don't leave your dog unattended in the car, regardless of Dog Mode's status. 

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Dave LeClair
Senior News Editor

Dave LeClair is the Senior News Editor for Tom's Guide, keeping his finger on the pulse of all things technology. He loves taking the complicated happenings in the tech world and explaining why they matter. Whether Apple is announcing the next big thing in the mobile space or a small startup advancing generative AI, Dave will apply his experience to help you figure out what's happening and why it's relevant to your life.