© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Heart failure (HF) remains a major cause of death and hospitalization worldwide. Despite medical advances, the prognosis of HF remains poor and new therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. The development of new therapies for HF is hindered by inappropriate or incomplete preclinical studies. In these guidelines, we present a number of recommendations to enhance similarity between HF animal models and the human condition in order to reduce the chances of failure in subsequent clinical trials. We propose different approaches to address safety as well as efficacy of new therapeutic products. We also propose that good practice rules are followed from the outset so that the chances of eventual approval by regulatory agencies increase. We hope that these guidelines will help improve the translation of results from animal models to humans and thereby contribute to more successful clinical trials and development of new therapies for HF.