"Very important. General rule for English speakers - if you don’t do it in the human context, don’t do it in the nonhuman context.
Just make a little effort to say “she or he” or “her or him” if you don’t know the sex. It’s a little effort with a very important social message.
Nonhuman animals are *persons*, not *things*. Therefore, we should refer to a nonhuman animal as a “she” or “he,” never as an “it.””