Animal Exchange (301) 424-PETS  
Small Mammals
Fish & Herptiles
Dog & Cat Supplies
Annual Store Events
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Store Hours:
Mon., Thurs 10-8
Wed., Fri., Sat 10-6
Sun 11-3
Closed Tuesdays

(301) 424-7387

July 3, 2015

Rockville Science Cafes

Filed under: Science Cafes,Store News — admin @ 2:39 pm

This Summer will have a presentation on Space Exploration on July 21 and on August 18 the topic is Rain Gardens. Cafes are held at Branded ’72 on East Gude Drive so you can come before the 7 PM start, get a lovely  meal with beverage of your choice and settle in for an always informative presentation. There are always seats still available at 6:30 but often it is standing room only by 7 so come early.

Summer Specials

Filed under: Bird Care,Seasonal,Store News — admin @ 2:29 pm

This Summer I have finally admitted that I have too many Antique Bird Cages. They fascinate me with their craftsmanship, materials and design but not with their size. In fact it’s amazing that birds actually lived as long as they did in them. So they will be occasionally available at the store, some with the marvelous heavily weighted brass stands that they  hang on. They are beautiful  historic treasures that are great with an artificial bird, plants or even just empty. Stop by and see them.

June 2, 2015

Are you an inventor?

Filed under: Small Animals,Store News — admin @ 10:30 am

Some of our customers are. The bird toys we sell include toys that are designed and built by more than 3 inventors who we mentored as they satisfied the needs of their pets. In the near future, we will be offering a Roborski Hamster Playground that not only was designed by a young lady with her father’s help but is being manufactured by a major pet industry supplier. How great is that? Are you next?

Why do birds eat so much?

Filed under: Bird Care,Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized,Wild birds — admin @ 10:21 am

This question has come up a lot recently and for right now the answers are:

#1 It’s breeding season and if you are feeding a family it requires more groceries.

#2 Day length is still increasing so even your single pet bird is seeing the food for a longer period and eating more.

#3 Birds body temperature is higher than ours, about 104 degrees and so they always eat more in proportion to body weight. It takes fuel to maintain 104!

So what do we do if the Vet. says our bird is a perch potato and needs more exercise?

#1 Move the food farther away. If you have a tall cage, put the food in one of our blue and tan ceramic bowls on the floor of the cage – not directly under the perch.

#2 Feed lower calorie foods like kale and carrots in the morning from the regular food bowl.

#3 Do not feed on playpens. Encourage them to play instead with rotating toys. We have some great new toys in right now.

#4 Hide favorite foods in foraging toys that make the bird work for those nuts.

#5 Share your summer salads with the bird.

March 31, 2015

April Science Cafe

Filed under: Science Cafes,Store News — admin @ 8:59 am

April 21 is the day when we will host Dr Linda Rayor from Cornell University at the next Rockville Science Cafe. The topic is Spiders!!!

Dr Rayor studies social spiders in Australia and taught a wonderful Summer school course that I was fortunate to attend . If you have a pet spider please call the store if you would like to bring it to the program that evening. It is sure to be an excellent presentation.

Pink Chicks

Filed under: Bird Care,Store News,Uncategorized — admin @ 8:52 am

They are not dyed but they are and will stay a beautiful pastel pink color. They are the rosy mutation of the Bourkes Parakeet. These little guys that we are just finishing hand feeding will be ready to go to new homes right after Easter and are very different than most parrot family birds. They have a lovely sweet voice, are very gentle and have even been kept with other species like canaries successfully. If you are on our newsletter mailing list, you can see a lovely photo of them there.

December 27, 2014


Filed under: Seasonal,Store News,Uncategorized — admin @ 11:40 am


—Help even more of you become successful Bird Breeders.

—Provide the best food, supplies and advice so all your pets live a long and wonderful life.

—Continue to respect your time by opening ( and closing ) on time.

—Expand the videos on the YouTube Animal Exchange channel. What would you like us to do?

—Succeed in explaining to bird owners why wing feather trimming is so important before their pet bird flies off or hurts itself. See our video for how to or make an appointment for us to trim.

—Share your life ( and food) with a great companion,  but no chocolate for dogs, no avocado for bird, and common sense with amounts. My Parrot let loves chicken.

—Enjoy all  Companion Animals  and the people who love and care for them.

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.

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