The AA has highlighted the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars by melting a chocolate dog inside one of their patrol vans.

The 7kg white chocolate terrier, fittingly named Coco, was left inside an AA patrol van during an overcast summer’s day last month.

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Coco, a creation of chocolatier Choccywoccydoodah, was filmed as he suffered on the van’s front seat, where temperatures reached a sweltering 42.8 degrees Celsius.

A video of the cute canine’s three-and-a-half-hour ordeal has been published to show drivers just what an inhospitable place a hot car can be for our four-legged friends.

Within half an hour, Coco’s nose and mouth had melted away, followed soon after by his ears and face.

The experiment was overseen by the AA’s patrol of the year, Vince Crane and his chocolate Labrador, Yogi (ironically not made from chocolate).

Chocolate dog melting in hot car

“We dog owners love being out and about with our four legged friends, but I still get calls to rescue pets from locked cars every now and then,” he said. “While our chocolate dog took around three and a half hours to completely melt, a real dog would be in severe stress in a fraction of that time – less than 20 minutes can prove fatal.

“Opening the windows or parking in the shade is not enough protection for dogs, so the best thing to do is take them with you, even if it’s just for a short time.”

“Coco was so realistic it that was a shame to melt him really. But he highlights just how dangerous it can be if you leave a dog locked in a car on a hot day.”