go(ing) to the dogs

go(ing) to the dogs

To be ruined. This expression, which has meant to come to a bad end since the seventeenth century, assumes that dogs are inferior creatures, as so many other sayings do (a dog’s life, die like a dog, sick as a dog, and so on). It was already a cliché by the time Shaw wrote, “The country is going to the dogs” (Augustus Does His Bit, 1917).
See also: dog