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Tesla Reportedly Tells Owners to Stop Using Dog Mode

dog in tesla
Tesla Reportedly Says Not to Use Dog ModePATRICK T. FALLON - Getty Images

To quote a certain cartoon canine: Ruh-roh. Tesla owners have reported an issue with the Dog Mode feature after installing a recent software update, which could leave dogs stuck in unsafe conditions in cars without owners realizing the problem. And according to at least one driver, Tesla has confirmed that Dog Mode is not operating properly after the update — and told users to refrain from using the feature.

Dog Mode, if you're unfamiliar, is a clever feature in Teslas that keeps the climate control system running when the car is stopped, parked and unoccupied (by humans). So, on a hot day, you can leave your dog in the car and the A/C will keep Fido cool and safe. In addition, the cabin temperature and a friendly message is displayed on the car's interior touchscreen, so anyone passing by knows the dog is comfortable and not in danger.

At least, that's the idea. But Reddit user u/wolf1043 recently posted in the subreddit r/TeslaModelY “DOG OWNERS BEWARE: Dog Mode not cooling the car on latest firmware 2024.20.1.” In that post, the user explained what occurred: After setting the temperature to a cool 19º Celsius (66º Fahrenheit) and leaving the dog in the car on a warm day, an alert on the driver's phone warned that Dog Mode had failed and the temperature in the car was 29ºC (84ºF). At that point, the owner says they rushed out to the car to save the dog.

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The owner said they submitted a support ticket with Tesla reporting the issue. The Tesla service team reportedly replied later in the day by saying, "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."

Tesla's vehicles have other modes such as Keep Climate On and Camp, which are also designed to keep the cabin cool while parked. However, the primary difference between these and Dog Mode is that the other modes don’t have the on-screen graphic to display the temperature to passersby. The Reddit user reported that after the update that these modes also don’t seem to be working.

At this time, we have seen no official communication from Tesla regarding this issue or an estimated time for a fix, and attempts to contact Tesla via its media site have gone unanswered. For the time being, we suggest that you do not leave a pet in your Tesla until confirmation of a fix has been announced. Closely monitor cabin temperature and pay close attention to any push notifications you may receive from the Tesla app.

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