Six firefighters tackled the fire at the Sir Robert Peel pub in Edgeley at 5:50am this morning (16 September).
No humans were injured in the blaze, but Manchester Fire and Rescue Service confirmed a puppy was saved in the first floor kitchen.
Manchester Evening News reported the fire was started by thieves, who had smashed a window to gain entrance before failing in attempts to break into the till and fruit machine, and finally setting fire to the carpet, table and chairs before fleeing.
Dan Wade, watch manager at King Street station, said: “There was no one there so we left the dog with the police and a bowl of water.
“She was fine although the fire produced quite a lot of smoke and the downstairs of the pub was smoke-logged. If a passer by had not heard the smoke alarm this could have been much worse.”
Police have appealed for witnesses.
Fires commonly plague publicans and can devastate their businesses.
Earlier this week a Dorset publican appealed for the trade’s help after a fire ravaged his pub, potentially leaving his family homeless.
Mike Long has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise £290,000 to rebuild Chideock's Clockhouse Inn after he was told he was under-insured.
He urged other licensees to ensure their insurance policies cover them for similar problems.
More than 14 fire crews tackled the blaze, which is believed to have started in a chimney, when it broke out earlier this year.