Animal Exchange (301) 424-PETS  
Small Mammals
Fish & Herptiles
Dog & Cat Supplies
Annual Store Events
Tip Sheets

Store Hours:
Mon., Thurs 10-8
Wed., Fri., Sat 10-6
Sun 11-3
Closed Tuesdays

(301) 424-7387

November 24, 2014

Holidays Are Here

Filed under: Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized — admin @ 11:43 am

With Thanksgiving upon us this week, I want to thank you for your love of animals. The comments of our customers constantly remind us that pets are truly a blessing and we have been instrumental in assuring that the equipment and care they have leads to a long and successful life.

Holidays are the time to share the bounty with your animals. The small animals are thrilled with a handful of fresh Oxbow Hay every day. We work hard to always have the biggest and best Spray Millet for the birds but any Hamster would also love it. Whole Life Freeze Dried Treats are American Made with the highest quality meats available. In addition to being good, they are simple to crumble so you get multiple rewards from each piece. Ask us for help with any pets  and take advantage of our 35 years experience.


July 28, 2014

35 Years…

Please forgive me if I reminisce about the last 35 years of Animal Exchange in Rockville, Maryland…

In 1979, I had been working for three years at Gaithersburg Pet Center (GPS), originally part time to distract myself from my father’s battle with cancer. When it became apparent that I could do a better and more honest job on my own, I offered to purchase GPC for $35,000, but was turned down by the owner who subsequently sold it for ¼ million. I began searching for my own space, not realizing that many landlords, including Giant, would not lease to a pet store! Finally a realtor got me a space of 1500 sq ft in the back of the Ritchie Center. The managing partner had recently absconded leaving 2 investors on their own. Fortunately they did not know to ask for a business plan or even a financial statement, neither of which I had or understood.

The initial check for rent was written and before it was even cashed, I secured 424-Pets as the phone number with the phone company and then went looking for money. It turned out that a wife was not a financial entity and even with securities in hand, no loans were offered. My Mother was 76 at this point but agreed to lend me enough to open the doors, and we did on August 5, 1979!

Much of the building, painting, and display were done by my son Daniel, 14 at the time, and me. We hung pegboard from the ceiling, designed and built the small animal racks that are still in use today, and stocked the shelves with the help of owners of four other pet stores. The Fire Marshall wanted us to use fire proof peg board (non-existent) and install sprinklers until we pointed out that neither was required for our space. The City of Rockville assured us there was no Pet Shop License (two years later they realized their mistake) and we ordered our Psittacine Permit from the State (later changed to include all birds). After $27,000 the store opened fully stocked with birds, small animals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

Using my Mother’s retirement money made me very nervous so I repaid that during the first year instead of paying myself. By year three, when the adjacent store became available, we doubled our size and gave the groomer a separate section. Salt water tanks were becoming readily available so Mother and I signed up for a Marine Biology course Cornell offered in St. Croix and expanded from fresh water fish into salt water.

Seeing the salt water fish in their own world was so inspirational that in 1985 Mother and I took off to see our Australian bird species in their country. What a fabulous experience! New Zealand had the most amazing collection of birds owned by a private individual and many private collections of finches and parakeets. And yes, we did see even more salt water fish!

The first local organization we joined was the Rockville Chamber of Commerce. As Legislative Vice President, I had been addressing animal related legislation and also local issues such as sign regulations. In a 1989 Chamber meeting, I learned the Budweiser Clydesdales would be in town for the Hometown Holidays parade on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. They were available Friday afternoon so I rounded up Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish clerics for a 4:30pm Blessing of the Animals at the store. Wow, what a way to celebrate my 50th Birthday! We’ve done blessings ever since.

Here are the Budweiser Clydesdales at Animal Exchange's 1st Blessing of the Animals.

The next few years, as Mother went through her 90’s, we learned about fractured hips as she recovered from hers and began walking again. When she hit 98 years old, I could not continue with seven days a week at the store. Mother needed attention.

Packing up 3000 sq ft after 22 years to squeeze into 1800 sq ft was not only a logistical nightmare but very costly.  We discontinued fish, reptiles and amphibians, and a lot of dog, choosing to specialize even more in birds and small animals and so we have for 13 years.

Small business is tough. The only business harder than Pet is Restaurant. We’ve had extraordinary good luck and support from a clientele of honest, altruistic, and very intelligent people. Our goal of selling only locally raised animals is here with every bird, from our Umbrella Cockatoo, to all the parakeets bred by customers. The mice and hamsters are bred with focus on behavior and genetics. We never have animals that we do not love and appreciate the great homes they go to. Okay, so it was really hard to have our Hyacinth Macaw Andy go to a new home after 22 years, not to mention Buttons, the Sulfur Crested Cockatoo that was ours for 28 years.

So as we celebrate 35 wonderful years, we give thanks for all the amazing animals that have passed through our hands and all of you who love pets too!


June 28, 2014

Photo Contest! And We’re 35!

Filed under: Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized — admin @ 9:41 am

It’s that time again and customers are bringing in amazing pictures of their pets. We  don’t often see our clients, just their staff ( that’s you…”) and so the photos are a real treat for us. Prizes will be awarded at our 35th birthday party at the store on August 3, 2014  at 1 PM. Do join us for an afternoon of refreshments and reminiscing  on what has happened here with the most wonderful People and Pets, for 35 years. And as always, thank you for caring about animals as much as we do.

March 29, 2014

Science Day April 6, 2014

Filed under: Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized — admin @ 10:43 am

Rockville Maryland has celebrated Science with a day of exhibits for 25 years and this year is going to be the best. 94 exhibits on the Montgomery College Campus, a Friday April 4 theater show on famous women in stem and a memorial grocery bag from Animal Exchange are all part of this exciting weekend. Call the store at 301-424-PETS if you need more information.

March 4, 2014

Rockville Happenings

Filed under: Classes,Science Cafes,Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized — admin @ 1:45 pm

Rockville first hosted Science Day 25 years ago so this year is special. Science Day will be as always, at Montgomery College on Sunday from 12-5 this year on April 6. It’s FREE and over 70 exhibits will greet you with hands on experiences from Homing Pigeons to Rockets.

FRIDAY APRIL 4 will be even more special because the Robert E Parilla Performing Arts Center will feature ” Forging Frontiers – Women Leaders in STEM “. The reenact ion by Kate Campbell Stevenson will have you believing you are in the room with Rachel Carson and other famous women scientists. Montgomery College is sponsoring this performance with the Rockville Science Center and that means that every STUDENT that attends will get in FREE. Be there at 7 PM  even if you have to buy a $10.00 ticket which is available at Animal Exchange. Bringing a group of students? Please call Ruth at 301-674-7884 for more information.

December 30, 2013

Hello Owls, nice to see you!

Filed under: Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized,Wild birds — admin @ 2:23 pm

Would you believe:

One of our customers from long ago has grown up to be the trapper at an Airport who relocates birds so as not to cause incidents with an airplane. He knows I ADORE birds and sometimes stops by with his latest catch on his way to the release location. We had a Snowy Owl and Great Horned Owl visiting on Saturday! Scroll through the pictures and see what a lovely visit it was!

December 15, 2013


Filed under: Bird Care,Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized — admin @ 2:07 pm

As our daily light supply starts to increase after the winter solstice, all sorts of animals react. Hormones start flowing in the birds and a typical phone call starts ” he never did this before…”  Usually the bird has gotten unusually loud or begun to chew a treasured piece of furniture. They have to announce that they are looking for a mate and then prepare a home. Sometimes a bird will start sitting on the floor of the cage and aggressively charging any hand that trespasses in the cage. After a week or so, an egg may magically appear. If there is only one bird in the cage, don’t expect it to hatch but what you now know is a hen may continue to lay, usually every other day until she completes a clutch and incubates the eggs. Birds need extra calcium to make the eggshell so add an extra cuttlebone and any other calcium source you have. I always wait at least a week after the last egg is laid before removing the eggs and encouraging the bird to get back to the regular routine.

December 3, 2013

Monthly newsletter

Filed under: Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized — admin @ 11:03 am

At the start of each month, Animal Exchange is sending out a newsletter with up to date information about the store and lots of tips about care for your pets.  As a result, our web page has not had as much new information posted. Call the store and ask to be added to the newsletter list and we will be glad to oblige. And don’t worry about too much email. We do not share lists and are lucky to get one newsletter a month done.

November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving Day Treats

Filed under: Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized — admin @ 3:58 pm

Thanksgiving day means lots of food for most of us and your pets want to be included in the bounty. Birds can have some of everything on the table except for avocado and will usually eat anything that is warm. Spray millet will keep them busy for awhile,with even the big birds carefully shelling each tiny seed. Be a bit more selective with your small animals but a lovely baby carrot or the kale used around the salad will make them happy.  Our Bunny Blocks are a treat for every kind of small animal, not  just bunny’s.

Tuna is not on my menu but Cosmic Tuna Flakes are a hit with even the fussiest kitty. We even have Chicken Liver with Pumpkin and Apple to put them in the mood.

Don”t let the dogs help themselves. We had a significant menu change the year my Irish Setter sampled all the baklava on the tray. Happily the chocolate was out of reach since that would have meant a trip to the vet. No chocolate for the dog please!

Thanksgiving is a time we are especially thankful for our pets and the wonderful owners that we see every day.


June 22, 2013


Animal Exchange now has 16 different videos on our YouTube channel with more than 1 million viewings. We hope you have seen and benefited from these videos that have information based on many of the questions we answer every day at the store. There is always so much more to learn about animals and not a day goes by that each of us here does not pick up some good idea in the store. Please let us know if you would like us to cover another topic that is a particular interest of yours.

« Previous PageNext Page »