The holidays are peak season for Starbucks, and apparently that means more pet owners are flocking to the establishment to score cute photos of their dogs eating the popular puppuccino. Now, the puppuccino itself is neither seasonal nor caffeinating; it’s simply an espresso cup filled with whipped cream. But a combination of seasonal cups, holiday cheer, and perhaps, desperation for internet approval seems to encourage more thirsty pet owners to order their dogs puppuccinos so they can post photos of their cream-covered snouts on Instagram (because let’s be honest, that’s 90 percent of the reason they got a dog in the first place).
Still, many cautious dog owners — myself included — might think twice about feeding their pupper anything other than the normal diet of food and treats made specifically for dogs (call me crazy, but I prefer it when my dog doesn’t uncontrollably shit everywhere). With this in mind, I asked Christine Filardi, certified applied animal behaviorist, certified canine and feline nutritionist and author of Home Cooking for Your Dog, whether the puppuccino is cause for concern.
Here’s the good (and the bad) news: Feeding your dog the occasional puppuccino should be the least of your worries. That’s because, according to Filardi, an espresso cup filled with whipped cream might be healthier than a daily dose of many commercial dog foods, which is just another reason why we don’t deserve dogs.
Her doggie PSA: “For people who are feeding their dogs commercial pet food day-in, day-out: Commercial pet food is loaded with sugar, salt, chemicals, stabilizers and fat. That, to me, is far more egregious than giving your dog a puppuccino every once in awhile.” If you want to learn more about healthier alternatives to commercial dog food, check out our article on cooking for your pet here, or learn how to make informed decisions about dog food brands here.
Sadly, this doesn’t come as a surprise to me, since I previously wrote about commercial dog food that was contaminated with euthanasia drugs. My conclusion was understandably bleak: “Let’s pretend for a moment that this dog food isn’t contaminated with the corpses of euthanized animals. Even still, it’s an artificially colored, bean-flavored mash of throwaway animal parts, reinforced with powdered vitamins and minerals.”
Now, it’s still worth noting that some dogs, like some humans, have trouble digesting dairy, which means a puppuccino might cause diarrhea. Also, if you want to be a super-duper doggie parent, Filardi mentions that you can make homemade, healthier versions of the puppuccino by combining berries, pumpkin or squash with plain Greek yogurt.
And don’t worry, doggie influencers: Yogurt on the nose is, in fact, every bit as cute as whipped cream.