The widower said he had bought the toy, named Little Willy, on holiday before leaving him in his car on Monday.
He said: "He'd been living quite happily on the car's back seat. But I've decided he will be safer sleeping on a chair in my kitchen."
Nottinghamshire Police said: "The call was made in good faith by a passer-by. In this case officers believed a dog could be suffering due to the heat of the day and its life was potentially at risk, so felt there was no other option but to enter the vehicle.
"We will be speaking to the owner of the vehicle about paying for the damage.
"This is a perfect example of why drivers need to think about what they leave on view in their car, both in terms of other people's perception of the objects and in a bid to deter opportunist thieves."