Category Archives: Contests & Giveaways

Fall is for Ferret


OK, we’re about a week early (fall officially starts Tuesday, September 22), but we’re really excited about ferrets. So excited, in fact, that for every ferret we sell between now and October 8, The Animal Store will donate $25 to the Greater Chicago Ferret Association.

On October 8, the Greater Chicago Ferret Association is sponsoring the Greatest Ferret Show on Earth. Held at the Kane County Fair Grounds (525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles), tickets are $7 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under, and $14 for the family. Proceeds go to the Greater Chicago Ferret Association’s no-kill shelter. Look for one of our favorite vets from Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, who will be giving a speech about heart disease in ferrets in the late afternoon.

For every ferret we sell between now and October 8, The Animal Store will donate $25 to the Greater Chicago Ferret Association

Speaking of our favorite vets, here they are to offer answers to some of your most frequently asked ferret questions.

Ask the Vet … about ferrets

Q: What does a first time owner need to know about ferrets?

A: Ferrets are true carnivores. This means they need meat-based protein, such as Marshall ferret kibble or even whole prey. The majority of pet ferrets (including those at The Animal Store) come from a place called Marshall farms. These ferrets have already been spayed or neutered, and are de-scented (which means the glands that produce strong smells have been removed). Ferrets typically live 7-9 years, and both females and males reach maturity between 8-12 months.

Ferrets are very friendly and active, playing often, but they also love to sleep on and off throughout the day. Like cats, ferrets can be litter-box trained fairly easily. Simply keep the litter box tidy and empty it daily. If your ferret is not using the litter box, pick up the feces and place them in the litter box. This helps ferrets understand the idea of where to defecate. Be sure to empty the box at the end of every day.

Young ferrets are commonly rascals, getting into things or trying to eat things they should not, so always be aware of where your ferret is and what he or she is doing. Ferrets can get a gut upset that causes soft, slimy stool and is a serious illness. If you notice this, see a vet trained in exotic pet care as soon as possible. 

Q: What routine vet visits are needed for a ferret?

A: Plan on seeing an exotic pet vet twice a year with your ferret: once for an annual exam and a distemper booster, and once for a rabies vaccine. Young ferrets may also require more visits that initial year if any irregularities are noted. At the annual exam, we recommend a fecal assessment to check for bacterial upsets and parasites. If your ferret goes outdoors, we also strongly suggest heart-worm testing and prevention. Lastly, for ferrets three years and older, we highly recommend blood work to assess organ functions and signs of infections or other abnormalities.  

Ask the Vet is a regular feature on The Animal Store Blog. We have teamed up with the great veterinarians at Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, who will answer your most pressing pet questions right here! Do you want to see your question answered on the blog? Leave a comment below or submit it on our contact form.
Photo credit: GaborfromHungary via



Animal Store Gift Card Winner Donates to Red Door Shelter

Hey, everybody, did you know that Kenn’s wife, Susan, has a blog called Two Kinds of People. Each year, she runs an essay contest complete with prizes. This year’s winner, Norine Dworkin-McDaniel, donated one of her prizes—a $25 Animal Store Gift Card—to Red Door Animal Shelter.

Red Door Animal Shelter is a no-kill shelter committed to helping animals in need. Its primary focus is on the rescue, shelter and adoption of cats, dogs and rabbits—the three most popular pets in the United States. The Animal Store supports the efforts of the Red Door.

We would also like to congratulate Norine on her excellent winning essay and thank her for her generous donation to the Red Door Animal Shelter. Thanks, Norine! (I, personally, love that Norine calls her blog “Don’t Put Lizards in Your Ears“. As a giant gourami, I can’t say that anyone has ever tried to put me [or my kin] into a human ear canal, but I strongly advise your readers to keep fish, as well as lizards, out of their ears.)

Halloween Sale — 20% Off Storewide

I knew something big was brewing around here. Fish can sense these things, you know. And now, the big secret is out. We’re having a sale! Not some little run-of-the-mill, take-a-few-pennies-off sale. A BIG sale. One that make even a GIANT gourami like me smile.

Saturday and Sunday

October 29 and 30

Kenn says he’ll give you 20% off* everything in the store.


Including dog and cat food. I’ve been here since before The Animal Store became The Animal Store — more than 20 years — and we have never, ever given this big a discount on dog and cat food.

You want more? You got it. Come in costume and Kenn will give you 25% off* your entire purchase. Seriously, how hard can it be to stick on a mask or a clown nose before you get here. Personally, I’d love to see you come dressed as me (I’m famous now after our hit TV appearance last week on 190 North).

There’s lot’s more fun and even bigger discounts happening — including hourly drawings and vets on hand to answer all your questions. Click here for all the details.

If you did not get our flyer in your email box, that means you haven’t subscribed to our mailing list. Just click here to join today so you don’t miss the next big event.

See you Saturday and Sunday. Don’t forget your costume and your camera. It’s a great chance to take a winning picture for our photo/video contest.

*Discount taken off white tag prices only; all other discounts reflect >25% off.

Help Ernie Pick His Halloween Costume

So, I decided I might dress up for Halloween after all, since we’re having a party this weekend. But I need your help. I can’t decide which costume to wear. Help me pick by voting below. And don’t forget to wear your costume on Saturday and Sunday to get 25% off* your entire purchase.

*Discounts taken off white tag prices only. All other tags represent discounts >25%.

Outside Looking In

I, Ernie Gourami Fish, am the ruler of all I see. Which means everything on the west side of The Animal Store.

I’ve been here in my big tank at the back of the store for more than 20 years. It’s a good place. Nice decor. I’m comfortable. But I’ve never been outside. Thanks to the latest submission to our photo/video contest, I now know what The Animal Store looks like on the outside.

Here’s the thing — it’s much better inside. The picture’s great, but the building is a little boring, you know what I mean. And Starbucks gets a lot of attention. But come inside our place and a whole world opens up. A world of animals and kids, pets and supplies. Some people call it “the Who-Knew Zoo”. You won’t believe how much animal stuff we’ve got in here. And furry folks, and feathered ones, plus the scaly guys in the reptile department. We believe in diversity.

Come in for a visit. Meet all my friends. Ask Kenn if you can give me a treat (I love treats — crickets and grapes are my favorites). Now that you know what we look like on the outside, we’re easy to spot — on the north side of Touhy, between Lincoln and Crawford. Bring your camera and takes some pics of the inside. It’s a much better view. Then send them to me, Ernie G. Fish.

2 Happy Girls, 1 Happy Bunny

Any guesses as to what brought these giant, gorgeous smiles to these two sunny faces? That little furball in the middle — their new bunny. They have chosen to name her Amelia. It’s a nice name. Not as dignified as Ernie, but a very fine name.

Thanks for sharing your picture, girls. You are definitely in the running for our photo/video contest. (I’m still working out the prizes with Kenn, but I’ll get back to you on that real soon.)

There’s still time to submit your photos and/or videos for our contest. If you have an Animal Store pet, take a picture, why dontcha? Then send it to me, Ernie. (Hint: some people say “cheese” when they get their pictures taken, but saying “Ernie” produces a much bigger smile.)

Surfin’ the Web

So, Kenn‘s been at the Backer show for two days, stocking up for the holidays. You know how it is when the boss is gone, you tend to slack off a little. So I took the opportunity to do a little web surfing and ran across Simon’s Cat by Simon Tolfield. Kenn took home a second kitten (which I hear his wife, Susan, wasn’t too crazy about), and I’ll bet this is just about how things went at home with Pekoe when Tea invaded his space.

There’s still plenty of time to submit your own photos and videos to our contest. Now, back to YouTube to see if they have fish channel.

Song of Joy

Good gag. Maybe I’ll get Kenn to buy me a baton and see if I can get our birdies to sing in harmony. Or maybe the fish. That would be a good trick. And I don’t even need a tuxedo — I come with my own tails.

Hey, have you started working on your video for our contest? Not a filmmaker? We want pictures of your pets, too. Snap your pics. E-mail the to me, Ernie at The Animal Store. It’s that easy. And I’m working on those prizes. They’re gonna be big.

Love this Video

Some people like reading poems. That’s great, but I love a good performance, don’t you? Check out this great rendition of our favorite poem — The Animal Store by Rachel Field — from a little girl named Amy. She rocks it.

Think you can do better? Find the words here and send me, Ernie, a videotape of your performance of The Animal Store poem. I’ll enter you in our photo/video contest.

We Want Your Pictures …

… and your videos.

Let me introduce myself. I’m Ernie, the new Animal Store blogger. We’ve probably met before. I’m the good-looking dude in the 1500-gallon tank, back of the store. That’s my my crib. Those other fish are freeloaders.

So, we’re trying to spiffy things up around here: a new look for the blog, some fresh ink (from yours truly), and a completely new website (or so I’ve been told. That’s been a long time coming.)

I need some help from you. I’m looking for some eye candy — gorgeous new graphics, photos and videos for the website. But as you can see from these sad pics of me, I need better photographers.

Do you have pictures of an Animal Store pet that has come home to live with you, maybe:

  • with the kids
  • a short video
  • a shot of the hedgehog curled up with the ferret

I’d take the pictures myself, but our underwater camera isn’t so great for the feathered and furry guys on the other side of the store.

I’m trying to talk the Old Man (owner-dude Kenn Bearman) into a photo/video contest. Kenn and I are tight, so I’m sure I can squeeze some rockin’ prizes out of him. So set up the tripod, take out the FlipCam and get snappin’. And bring your camera the next time you visit. I promise to smile pretty.

Then send your digital images to me, Ernie, here at The Animal Store. I’ll be waiting.