to the dogs.
To waste, ruin, perdition, etc. used with: give, go, gone, send, or throw.
Primarily, I believe this expression acknowledges the multi-millennia long role that dogs have played in human society: eating waste.
However, the Oxford English Dictionary implies a particular derivation with a somewhat different slant. “The dogs” was a term for “a greyhound race meeting,” meeting at which I have no doubt betting and other vices were prominent. So perhaps to go to the dogs is to be drawn in to such vices as wagering, drinking, sloth, etc.
1. Whitney, William Dwight and Benjamin E. Smith. 1914. The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia; with a New Atlas of the World. New York: Century Co., accessed from http:// www.global-language.com/ century/.
2. The Oxford English Dictionary Online. 2005. 3d ed. Accessed from