I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of dragons (coyote, friendship, everest, zhu, grove, heaven and gel barrier, just to name a few) all have some sort of critter holding onto or flying around them that don’t seem to actually be considered other dragons. I wondered why these creatures were there and if they helped in any way.

Familiars are said to be spirits or demons taking the form of an animal, person or entity that assists in magic or daily life in some way. These little creatures surrounding the dragons might be spirits summoned to assist the dragon in combat, magic and general life, much like a familiar. In some media, familiars and spirits are also said to be tied to those who summon them and will weaken or die if they leave their summoner (if they are able to leave them at all.) This helps explain why they seem to be so attached to the dragons, as they would die if they left the dragon’s side.
I think it’s reasonable to say that some dragons summon spirits, fairies, animals and demons to act as companions and enhance their magical abilities. This is giving me tons of ideas for potential dragon designs. I just think it’s a cool idea that these dragons are accompanied by other creatures.