Are Tesla’s Good For Dogs? (Model 3 & Y)

by James Bartlett | Posted On: June 1st, 2022
tesla dog mode

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I grew up being driven around in a long-wheelbase Land Rover, so our black labrador-border collie cross could do as she pleased without getting told off for damaging the vehicle. However, Teslas do not have the same notorious durability or size as Land Rovers raising questions as to their suitability for dogs.

Yes, Teslas are good for dogs. The flat floor provided by the battery offers more room and plenty of space for a dog. The wipe-clean faux leather in a Tesla also makes it good for cleaning up dog mess. Teslas also have “Dog” mode which enables you to keep the dog warm or cold when you are away from the vehicle.

Is Tesla A Dog Friendly?

Is There Space for Dogs?

The most important part of a car being dog friendly is the size of its interior. Cars recommended for dog owners tend to be estates that have much larger boot space, with room for dog houses and cages. Teslas are pretty good in this regard.

The flat floor of Teslas to accommodate the underfloor battery pack gives them an airy, spacious feel. This makes Teslas good for dog owners, as the lower floor makes extra room for dogs to move around.

Are Teslas Interior Durable Enough?

Other important car characteristics with respect to transporting dogs are the durability of the interior and its ease of cleaning. Dogs are notorious for jumping about in cars due to their excitement and therefore often scratch the seats and interior upholstery.

Dogs obviously also like running about in the dirt and therefore bring dirt back into the car and leave it on the seats.

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Red Tesla Model S
Photo by Automobile Italia Hamre licensed under CC BY 2.0

Is it Easy to Clean Tesla Interiors?

The upholstery of Tesla is white faux leather. This material is very durable, and also easy to wipe clean. So the seats of a Tesla are well suited for letting a dog run about. Tesla recommends wiping the seats with a non-abrasive cloth slightly moistened with water and a non-detergent cleaner for regular cleaning.

You can also remove the seat covers for machine washing if they get especially dirty. As a pre-emptive measure, you can also get seat protectors to ensure that the seats aren’t covered with dog prints.

What About Temperature Control?

Another important factor in the suitability of cars for dogs is climate control. Tesla has a significant advantage over ICEs in climate control for dogs. In an ICE, you only really have the choice to leave a window open if a pet is left in the car unattended.

Teslas have “Dog mode” which controls the temperature of the car’s interior when you’re away. This means the dog can be kept safe from elevated temperatures for long periods of time.

The car will send you a notification to your phone if the climate control causes the battery charge to drop below a certain level. This ensures that you can get back to the car before the battery drains and that you have enough charge to get home.

Is Tesla Model 3 Good For Dogs?

The Tesla Model 3 is particularly praised for its interior space out of all Teslas, particularly with respect to passenger space. This makes the Model 3 really good for dog owners. The other advantage of the Model 3 over other EVs is long-range.

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The Tesla Model 3 has a long-range compared to other EVs. This means that you can go on road trips without having to stop for a charge too frequently. This is a benefit to dog owners, as stopping for charging means you have to think about what to do with the dog whilst waiting for the car to charge.

Can A Dog Fit In The Back Of A Tesla Model Y?

The back of a Tesla Model Y is plenty big enough for a medium-sized dog. The floor of the back is slightly raised which means very large dogs might not fit in, but the raised floor makes it easier to lift the dog out if you need to. For very large dogs, you might need a Model X which has a larger back.

People with German Shepherds for example find that the dogs have to sit sideways. The size of the Model Y back is said to be roughly the same as that of a Subaru Outlander.

How Much Space For a Dog?

Of course, if your dog is large and you don’t have any rear passengers you can always put the seats down for a bit more space. Model Y owners report that lowering the rear seats easily allows a dog kennel to fit in as well.

Red Model Y
Photo by Dru Kelly licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Model Y also has side pockets which can be useful for storing dog accessories or keeping things for the dog to play with. However, one disadvantage of the Model Y cited by dog owners is the proximity of the rear seat power assist button to the car back.

This can be activated by dogs and cause the rear seat to drop down which is heavy and can be dangerous for rear passengers.

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How Comfortable Is Model Y For the Dog?

But this issue is only an issue if you have a particularly smart dog. Some dog owners also say that the higher back floor in the Model Y and the slope of the tailgate makes it difficult for some dogs to get in and out.

The window can also be a bit high for some dogs in a Model Y back meaning that they might put their paws on the window lip to be able to see.

How Much Does A Tesla With Dog Mode cost?

Dog mode is a feature installed through an over-the-air update. However, the car needs to have the right software to be able to accept the update. The Teslas with this software are all Model 3 and Model S or Model Y built after 2017.

This means you can get a Tesla with Dog mode capability for as low as $46,490 (Model 3) up to $134,490 (Model S Plaid).

How Long Does Dog Mode Last?

2019 Tesla Model 3
Photo by peterolthof licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Dog mode will run constantly when activated until the battery reaches 20% of charge. At this point, the car will send you a notification to tell you to get back to the car. However, Dog mode doesn’t deactivate when the battery reaches 20%.

It continues until the battery is drained. However, you cannot activate Dog mode if the battery charge is at 20% or below.

The cabin control in a Tesla uses approximately 1 mile of range for every fifteen minutes that it is activated. In a Model 3 with 272 miles of range, this indicates a maximum theoretical Dog mode running time of 4080 minutes (68 hours).

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However, you also have to factor in that the battery shouldn’t drop below 20% meaning this goes down to 54 hours. The real maximum Dog mode running time depends on how far you drove before activating it, the temperature you have set it to, and the difference between the cabin target temperature and the external temperature.

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