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BRUSSELS: Police block the street outside the council chamber in Brussels, where two terrorism cases will be held behind closed doors. —AFP
Paris suspect Abdeslam 'wants to cooperate' - Belgium police carry out raid linked to terror plot

LAS VEGAS: They don’t own smartphones and can’t go online, but that doesn’t prevent them from being connected: Pets are benefitting from a slew of animal-oriented technology at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. How’s Fido feeling? Tracking your dog’s steps, detecting its heart problems, knowing exactly when kitty’s litterbox has become too full - it’s all possible. Here’s a roundup of some of the technology for pets and their owners on display at this year’s CES:

Smart collars

What is Rover up to now? The Smart Dog Collar not only helps owners locate their pet in real time, but also monitors its activity - including its heart rate and whether it is barking. The technology was developed by French GPS specialist Invoxia, which now also offers a mini version (small enough even for cats) called Minitailz - which records health data and can even help detect atrial fibrillation (a type of irregular heart rhythm) in animals.

Minitailz uses generative AI and notes when an animal is doing anything from scratching to eating. It even identifies when pets are exhibiting stress. Lately, daily exercise quotas have gone to the dogs - literally. Australian startup Ilume’s collar, called Tracker, counts a dog’s steps and lets an owner know via smartphone what a pet is up to - like walking or sleeping.

The company also offers a Smart Bowl, whose algorithm calculates ideal food portions based on age, weight and activity. The pet products market is expected to skyrocket in coming years, according to industry trackers, which is no surprise given that some 66 percent of US households now have at least one pet, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA).

Animals aren’t the only ones benefitting from these relationships however: Numerous scientific studies have concluded that pet owners are healthier and have less risk of cardiovascular diseases in particular. Pet-related innovations are also helping out dogs’ and cats’ human companions. The Whiskers litter box sifts litter into a bin so owners don’t have to scoop - and notifies pet parents via app when the litter drawer is full and needs emptying. — AFP

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