I took my dog for a long walk today, and on the way home we stopped at a coffee shop for a treat—I got an iced nitro brew and my dog, Henry Rollins, got a pup cup—basically a small cup of whipped cream with a dog biscuit on top. Needless to say, he loved it (check out the photos for proof!). When we got home I decided to do a little research on the origins of pup cups. Turns out, according to internet lore (including this post from the Dog Bakery), the term "puppuccino" (pup + cappuccino)—which is what lots of folks call pup cups, especially that giant Seattle-based coffee chain that so many people love—was coined by Rocky Kanaka in 2008, when he started serving tiny cups of whipped cream to the doggos that visited his store. Rocky Kanaka describes himself as a: "pet rescue advocate, pet chef and Emmy-nominated TV host. His content spreads awareness about pet adoption, fostering and volunteering with the goal of inspiring his audience to help animals in their local community." The rest, as they say, is history.
Are pup cups safe to eat? Consensus seems to be that, yes, they are safe, in small quantities, as an occasional treat. Bing's Best Things cautions, though, that in some instances they are counter-indicated:
Dogs with sensitive stomachs should probably stay away from them, unless you're willing to put up with smelly farts (or worse) for a couple of days afterwards.
Pup cups can make certain dogs very ill. Dogs with severe allergies could have bad vomiting and diarrhoea after a pup cup, which can mean dehydration and a vet visit.
Dogs with a history of pancreatitis should also avoid puppucinos due to their high fat content. This could cause a flare-up and lead to a vet visit.
You have to be careful with small dogs as they are at risk of piling on weight if they have too many. Pup cups have a high calorie content.
Finally, the extra sugar in the whipped cream can lead to tooth decay. If your dog has dental issues, be careful.
You can pretty much get pup cups anywhere that sells coffee, or, more recently, at ice cream shops, including fancy ones like Sacramento's Salt and Straw, or more mundane ones like Dairy Queen. If you don't have a dog but want to soak up the pure joy that pup cups provide for doggos everywhere, you can go search the hashtags #puppuccino or #pupcup, each of which has hundreds of thousands of posts on Instagram.
And in the meantime, enjoy Henry Rollins thoroughly enjoying his!