RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil is ramping up toward the world's most famous Carnival celebrations and already the dogs have had their day.

Dozens of costumed dogs joined their owners in a traditional pre-Carnival parade Sunday along Avenida Atlantica bordering Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.

“At first it seemed very strange, they were agitated, but now they enjoy a lot. It's an opportunity for them to play with other friends”, said Claudia Idelfonso, who arrived with Bianca, a schauzer, and Luna, a mutt wearing what looked like a Hawaiian lei.

Lucia Coutinho's 12-year-old Maltese, Bebel, came dressed in a mask and a Batman cape.

A dog dressed like a prisoner appeared to be lost, while on another corner, dogs dressed as a sailor, a nurse and a bee advanced in single file.

It wasn't clear if the owners or pets had more fun.

“I don't know if she enjoys it, but she barks a lot,” Coutinho said.

The parade is one of many leading up to the formal start of Carnival on Feb. 21.