Sepsis is a state of disrupted inflammatory homeostasis that is often initiated by infection. The development and progression of sepsis is multi-factorial, and affects the cardiovascular, immunological and endocrine systems of the body. The complexity of sepsis makes the clinical study of sepsis and sepsis therapeutics difficult. Animal models have been developed in an effort to create reproducible systems for studying sepsis pathogenesis and preliminary testing of potential therapeutic agents. However, demonstrated benefit from a therapeutic agent in animal models has rarely been translated into success in human clinical trials. This review summarizes the common animal sepsis models and highlights how results of recent human clinical trials might affect their use.