A 10-man brass band and a singer belting out Rio's anthem song "Cidade Maravilhosa" (Marvelous City) kicked off the fest as dog owners gathered to party with pooches on Copacabana beach Sunday.
Fabricio Gonsalves was wearing the same colorful Hawaiian lei as his black and white French bulldog, Belinha. "Dogs love Carnival, too!" was his explanation for the event.
Several canines wore tiny tutus, a few were dolled up like Snow White and one mutt had a forehead full of Indian bindis. A lone cat rode safely atop his owner's shoulders, wearing blue angel wings.
Rio has hundreds of "bloco" street parties in the weeks leading up to Carnival, which this year opens Feb. 28.