With a heat wave blanketing the Northeast, including Shelton, pet owners may be wondering what steps they can take to keep their dogs and cats safe. BluePearl Veterinary Partners, a company that operates specialty and emergency hospitals, recommends these steps to help prevent a pet from requiring a trip to the emergency room: \u2014 Avoid physical activity during the heat of the day; keep exercise to the cooler mornings and evenings. \u2014 Ensure your pet has access to plenty of water throughout the day and during times of exercise. Don\u2019t spray with ice water \u2014 Spray your pet down with room temperature or cool water, but never ice water. Ice cold water causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin and heat can't escape the body properly, which actually makes heat exhaustion symptoms worse. \u2014 Don't give sports drinks or electrolyte supplements to pets. Dogs cool off by panting and they do not sweat like people. Supplements like sports drinks can actually harm animals and make pets sick. \u2014 Make sure pets are kept inside of air-conditioned spaces to avoid excess exposure to heat. \u2014 When walking or jogging with your pet, try to avoid asphalt as your pet's paw pads can burn. Instead, stick to concrete, dirt or grass, as those surfaces are less hot. \u2014 Never leave your pet in a car unattended, even with the air conditioning running. If the air conditioning fails, your pet could easily over-heat in as little as a few minutes. \u00a0Signs of heat-related distress Most importantly, be familiar with your pet and know when they aren't acting right. Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and dark red gums are all signs of heat-related distress. If your pet is panting uncontrollably or collapses, take the animal to a veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately. About BluePearl Vet Partners The Florida-based BluePearl Veterinary Partners was formed in 2008 and employs more than 1,200 people, including about 250 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals are referral-only and don't provide primary care. Most BluePearl hospitals offer 24-hour emergency care services.