Protect your home from critters this winter

Protect your home from critters this winter

As temperatures drop across South Florida and Treasure Coast, critters can pose a health hazard to your family and pets.

Experts say they are not a fan of cooler weather, so they will be looking to your home for warmth.

Jeannine Tilford, the owner of South Florida-based "Toad Busters," says rats can be deadly if they nest in your attic.

"Urine, feces, they bring up food in there, so you don't want that there ... we have new parasites and new things that come around all the time," said Tilford.

She has the following advice on how to "critter proof" your home:

  • Removing foliage from around your house
  • Trimming tree branches so they're not touching your roof
  • Covering your gutters and any vents on the outside of the house so rats can't chew through them to get inside

Tilford said you also need to watch out for poisonous cane toads because they can be dangerous to your pets.

"(Your pets) have a matter of minutes before they can die and it's very expensive (to treat), so an ounce of prevention is worth more than having to spend $1,000 at the vet trying to save your dog," said Tilford.

She says the toads are looking for warmth close to your home and as temperatures drop they become slower and easier for your pets to catch.

If your dogs comes in contact with one, Tilford says immediately wipe their mouth off with a wet paper towel or rag and take them to the nearest pet clinic.