As a Valentine’s Day present to pet-loving Tesla owners, the electric car company rolled out its highly anticipated “Dog Mode” Thursday.
Although CEO Elon Musk first mentioned the feature in October, and teased its imminent arrival earlier this week, little was known about the mode apart from the fact that it would help prevent dogs and other animals from succumbing to heat stroke when left alone inside a car.
Tesla tweeted a video demoing the feature Thursday, telling consumers that “Dog Mode” lets drivers “set a cabin temperature to keep your dog comfortable while letting passersby know they don’t need to worry.”
“This is in addition to existing Cabin Overheat Protection, which come on automatically at high temps to ensure any babies or pets in the car are safe,” Musk added in a tweet response to the corporate account.
Though some Tesla owner may already have the feature, Musk said that it isn’t getting rolled out to everyone immediately, tweeting,“It will start out slow to make sure there are no corner case issues and then, if that looks good, speed up next week. We def need to add a “Request Latest Update” feature!”
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs can succumb to heat stroke even on cool days when a window has been cracked open—rising up to 20º F in 10 minutes and 30º F in 20 minutes.
Tesla’s feature not only lets users set their car to a cool temperature while they’re running an errand, but it uses the car’s central jumbo screen to tell concerned passersby the interior temperature along with the message, “My owner will be back soon. Don’t worry!”
According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, 29 states and the District of Columbia have some form of a “hot car” laws, many allowing good samaritans or police officers to break into a car if they see an unattended animal in need. (You can replace a window, but you can’t replace your puppy.)
“Dog Mode” will hopefully keep pets and cars safe.