What Is the Secret Starbucks Puppuccino—and Is It Safe for Your Dog?

Updated: Aug. 23, 2023

Who’s been a very good boy (or girl)? For an extra-special doggy treat, order a puppuccino on your next Starbucks run.

Whenever you’re on a road trip or just doing a bunch of errands in town, a Starbucks run is often a necessity. But how can you sip your delicious drink while your ride-or-die buddy stares at you with those pleading puppy-dog eyes? Thankfully, in addition to the new Barbie frappuccino and the medicine ball tea, the secret Starbucks menu now has something for your canine companion: the puppuccino.

This Starbucks drink checks the boxes of what dogs want—which is basically anything from the list of human foods dogs can eat, including occasional treats like ice cream and popcorn. But what’s in a Starbucks puppuccino? And is it safe for your pup?

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What is a puppuccino, exactly?

As you may have guessed, it’s a cleverly named, off-menu drink for your dog, and you can order it only at Starbucks. Though it’s a super-cute play on words, Starbucks’s puppuccino isn’t a canine version of a cappuccino. And thank goodness for that! The last thing your pup needs is to lap up a cup of coffee, since caffeine is toxic for dogs. The coffee giant’s puppuccino is actually just lightly flavored whipped cream, made from heavy whipping cream and vanilla syrup.

How do you order a puppuccino at Starbucks?

The puppuccino isn’t an official menu option, so you might wonder if you’ll be met with a blank stare when you try to order this secret Starbucks drink. Luckily, the baristas are in-the-know and shouldn’t bat an eye when you ask for a Starbucks puppuccino. Ask and you shall receive!

One important note, though: While it would be amazing to sit and sip (or, as your dog would say, sit and lick) your drinks together, pets aren’t allowed inside Starbucks unless they are service animals. However, you can order at the drive-thru window. Alternatively, you could pop inside and order it if the line isn’t too long and leave your dog outside with a friend or family member. Starbucks welcomes pets on its patios.

How much does a puppuccino cost?

Since the Starbucks puppuccino isn’t an official menu item, there is no set price. A spokesperson for Starbucks says, “All customers have the ability to order extra whipped cream for a beverage, and we’ve seen customers order this for their dogs at no extra charge.” If you’re already ordering something for yourself, you likely won’t be charged a fee, and chances are, if you’re just ordering a puppuccino for your dog and nothing for yourself, you’ll likely still get it for free.

Are puppuccinos safe for dogs?

We know—your dog’s tail is wagging in suspense to find out if they can eat the Starbucks puppuccino. The short answer is yes, with some caveats. “Puppuccinos are not toxic to dogs, meaning many dogs can safely enjoy these in moderation,” says Ashley Ackley, a veterinarian at Western Veterinary Partners in Denver.

Typically, the Starbucks puppuccino is served in a three-ounce espresso cup, but Starbucks baristas might be extra generous and fill a larger-size cup. While a whipped-cream-covered muzzle is extra cute, you should consider the size of your dog and the size of the puppuccino before letting them dive in. That’s Dr. Ackley’s adorable dog, Tilly Terrier, in the opening image, by the way, and she notes that Tilly was not allowed to finish that oversized puppuccino.

How much is too much for a dog?

poodle eating a Starbucks Puppuccino on a tableZhang Peng/getty images

Dogs don’t understand the concept of having too much of a good thing, and most would wolf down a venti-size puppuccino if given the chance. But just because whipped cream is light and fluffy, that doesn’t make it a healthy dog treat. An espresso-size puppuccino is generally acceptable for most medium- to large-size dogs, but smaller dogs should definitely scale back. Think of it this way: A five-pound pupster may require about 200 calories daily. An espresso-size puppuccino is roughly 50 to 100 calories, so eating that in one sitting is essentially an entire meal—and one that’s made primarily of fat and sugar.

“Puppuccinos are not very healthy for dogs, just like having a cup of whipped cream is not healthy for humans,” says Dr. Ackley. “That being said, we all like to spoil ourselves with whipped cream on our frappuccinos occasionally, so one for your dog may make their day—and yours.”

Should any dogs avoid puppuccinos?

You might not want to read this section out loud if your dog is snuggling next to you. Even though Starbucks’s puppuccino is a small treat, it can still cause trouble for some pups. “Dogs that have a history of a sensitive stomach in general, known lactose intolerance, pancreatitis or diabetes should avoid these,” says Dr. Ackley. “Also, if your vet has ever discussed that your dog needs to lose weight, this isn’t a great treat idea.” If you have any concerns at all, it’s best to check with your vet first.

Where else can you get treats for your pup?

Let’s be honest: You can get treats for your dog at any restaurant. A French fry here, a chicken nugget there, and they’ll be in heaven. Yet there are some restaurants that offer treats specifically for dogs. Some are official menu items, and others are “secret” and given at the discretion of the restaurant.

  • Shake Shack offers Bag O’ Bones, which contains ShackBurger dog biscuits made by New York City’s Bocce’s Bakery. The biscuits are made with hormone-free, lean beef with cheddar cheese and power greens. Prices start at $8.09. For dessert seekers, there’s the Pooch-ini, vanilla custard topped with a couple of ShackBurger dog biscuits, starting at $4.19. On International Dog Day (Aug. 26), Shake Shack will be offering a BOGO offer—buy a shake, get a Pooch-ini for your pup.
  • A&W offers dog treats, but since the restaurants are individually owned and operated, some will have them while others will not. An A&W spokesperson says the type of dog treats varies by location, so they recommend dog parents contact their local A&W to confirm availability.
  • In-N-Out Burger offers a meat patty, dubbed the “pup patty” by customers. Pet parents can order it with or without salt. “A meat patty may be ordered individually at any of our locations for a little over a dollar,” says an In-N-Out spokesperson.

Now that you know the ins and outs of the Starbucks puppuccino and other doggy treats, find out what vets say is the very best diet for your dog.

About the expert

  • Ashley Ackley, DVM, MS, cVMA, is a veterinarian at Western Veterinary Partners. She loves all creatures, especially senior canine companions, including her own senior dogs, Tilly Terrier and Dollar, and Dwight, her cat. She serves as a board member for The Grey Muzzle Organization, which improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to nonprofit animal groups nationwide.