1) Eye contact is important, but not always necessary. In some instances, a pose with eye contact from an animal works. In my opinion, this type of pose is equivalent to a traditional, formal portraiture. When the pose works, the body position is natural and shows the full-body.
2) The surrounding setting is important too. If there are a couple of background textures and tones which complement the animal and setting, this would be perfect! In this way, the animal and setting (the background) contain visual unity.
3) The camera’s flash fills in shadows and enhances the appearance of humans, as well as animals. Take a fill flash photograph and look for the shadows on and around the animal’s body. Now, take another photograph without the flash. Without the flash, part of the animal’s face is darkened and the shadows are not as pleasing to the eye. The shadows tell us about the form and shape of an object. Normally though, shadows can add beauty to forms.
4) Viewpoint perspectives can make or break a photograph. Sometimes, shooting down on an animal works and other times not. Photographers have to make needed adjustments for each situation. While maintaining eye contact with an animal, just as with people, the animal should not be straining his or her neck to look at you (or the camera). Make sure the pose of the animal is not disturbing to look at. The animal should look true to form and natural.