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When Japanese people decide to become pet owners, they really throw themselves into it. Perhaps because of the relative scarcity of pet-friendly apartments in the city, dog owners in particular tend to be either home owners or have slightly higher incomes and can afford to live somewhere that allows them to live with their four-legged pal. For that reason, many pet-owning urbanites think nothing of buying expensive leashes and clothing items for their furry friends or paying exorbitant sums to have their dog shampooed and expertly groomed, and you’ll sometimes even see people riding the trains with their dogs in strollers or designer carriers.

We’re not really ones for dolling our pooches up, and our cats wouldn’t be seen dead in half the outfits that are available online, but this year’s must-have dog fashion item is one that we could definitely got on board with: tummy-warming “haramaki”.

Not to be confused with harumaki (spring/egg rolls) or the samurai battle armour from which their name is derived, modern day haramaki (腹巻 lit. stomach/torso wrap) are less about keeping pointy things out than keeping warmth in. At this time of year, men and women alike slip these soft, insulated rings of material around their torsos in an effort to keep their tummies and lower backs nice and warm while braving the increasingly chilly weather outdoors, and many women in particular consider haramaki an essential part of their pyjama ensemble.

▼Haramaki: Keeping bellies warm since samurai stopped stabbing each other

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But it would seem that in recent years, pups all across Japan are now getting their very own haramaki, with Twitter users only too happy to upload photos of their dogs wearing wraps either bought from pet stores or made especially for their little buddy.

▼ This little guy seems pretty happy with his new winter gear!

▼ Dog Pooh

▼ Apparently one size does not fit all…

▼ Looking good, little guy!

▼ Hina-san looking snug and stylish

Thriftier Twitter users have suggested that soft fabric hairbands bought from 100-yen shops can also be used as haramaki for smaller dogs. So long as the elastic’s not too snug we don’t see why not!

Others, meanwhile, are such believers that they’re going all out and knitting haramaki for their pups. We wonder if this one will be finished in time for mid-winter.

▼ Sadly, though, not all pooches can pull haramaki off…

Do dogs need haramaki? Probably not. Do they look adorably ridiculous wearing them? Absolutely. Carry on, Internet. Carry on.

Feature image: Twitter
Insert images: PMC Tokyo, Yahoo! Shopping

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If all these doggy photos have you wishing you had a pet of your own to spoil rotten, why not pay our friends at Animal Refuge Kansai a quick visit? While we can’t guarantee that they’ll look good in a haramaki, we know for a fact that there are some truly adorable cats and dogs that would love to have a forever home and would appreciate you stopping by.