Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Living with the animals: animal or robotic companions for the elderly in smart homes?
  1. Dirk Preuß,
  2. Friederike Legal
  1. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin, Erlangen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dirk Preuß, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin, Glückstraße 10, Erlangen D-91054, Germany; dirk.preuss{at}


Although the use of pet robots in senior living facilities and day-care centres, particularly for individuals suffering from dementia, has been intensively researched, the question of introducing pet robots into domestic settings has been relatively neglected. Ambient assisted living (AAL) offers many interface opportunities for integrating motorised companions. There are diverse medical reasons, as well as arguments from animal ethics, that support the use of pet robots in contrast to living with live animals. However, as this paper makes clear, we should not lose sight of the option of living with animals at home for as long as possible and in conformity with the welfare of the animal assisted by AAL technology.

  • Aged
  • Information Technology
  • Health Care for Specific Diseases/Groups

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors DP conceived the idea for the paper and wrote the first draft. FL critiqued and provided feedback on the various drafts and helped shape the final version of the paper.

  • Funding Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF-16SV6400).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles

  • The concise argument
    Ken Boyd