Dora Puppy

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Dora Puppy Game Poster Image
The perfect virtual pet game for preschoolers.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game reinforces being a responsible pet owner, being aware of an animal's needs, giving positive reinforcement, budgeting one's earnings,and emphasizes the value of practice and the importance of cleanliness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dora is a perfect role model as a pet owner. She's caring, nurturing, responsible, and still remembers the value of fun and play.

Ease of Play

The game is absolutely perfect for preschoolers to handle. Dora literally leads the player through every action. Older kids might feel reined in without the level of freedom that other virtual pet games offer, but for preschoolers, this is the right way to go.

Violence & Scariness

The dog must be let outside to "tinkle."


This game is, of course, part of the ever-growing line of Dora the Explorer products. The instruction booklet has ads for other Nick Jr video games on the back cover.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that any child who longs for a virtual pet game, but is not old enough to handle a title like Nintendogs or one of the Petz series, can find exactly what they're looking for in this preschool-friendly animal sim. The game is utterly wholesome, requires no reading, and has a beloved character to guide kids through every step of the pet-care and competition process.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5-year-old Written bylovekind May 25, 2010

perfect for 5+

Now this is a great game to play I mean I really love it.
Parent of a 7-year-old Written bygetloud April 11, 2010

perfect for learners of 4 and above

What a major surprise to see this being so good and man dora is good.
Kid, 8 years old June 19, 2010


dumb game
Kid, 9 years old December 5, 2009

What's it about?

In the bluntly titled, DORA PUPPY, kids help Nick Jr cartoon star, Dora the Explorer, take care of her puppy, Perrito, and help train him for doggie competitions. Care involves washing and brushing, providing food and water, letting the dog outside to do its business, cleaning up pawprints, and playing several different games with the puppy. Kids earn tokens for each task, which they can use to buy new toys or clothes for Perrito, or to enter him into the Big Puppy Competition. The competition involves helping Perrito run an obstacle course and having him strike poses. All the actions are performed by either tracing certain shapes with the stylus or calling out commands into the DS's microphone.

Is it any good?

Virtual pet games can be very appealing to young kids, but many of them require a ton of reading and the memorization of long lists of rules and commands. Not so Dora Puppy, which was designed very astutely with preschool-age players in mind (It's unclear why the ESRB did not give the game an EC, Early Childhood, rating). If your kid can trace shapes and make noises, they can play it. After some initial tutorials, there's a element of freedom -- kids can mostly choose whichever activity they want, whenever they want to -- but Dora is always along for the ride, reminding the player what to do each time. Her constant presence -- and constant reiteration of controls -- is the kind of thing that would drive older kids crazy, but the intended audience will find it helpful and reassuring. Preschooler should love to nuzzle up to Dora Puppy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about caring for real-world pets. How is it different from a virtual pet? What do we need to do for a real pet that we don't need to do in the game for Dora's puppy?

  • In the game, you can buy toys and clothes for the puppy with the tokens you earn during play. Ask kids if they like to spend their tokens as soon as they earn them, or do they like to save up and by an item with a higher price tag?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: 2K Play
  • Release date: November 17, 2009
  • Genre: Preschool
  • ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
  • Last updated: November 15, 2019

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