Sentence: "This nation has gone to dogs."

My sentence: Yesterday, in a discussion regarding the article, I was told by CalifJim sir that "in the plural you can use the or leave it out" http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/RegardingTheArticle/xcnjw/post.htm

So, my question, rather I want to confirm, is it right to use the word/noun "dogs" without any article in the sentence? I'm asking because the Google is suggesting otherwise. It says the idiom is "gone to the dogs."

PS: I said the above sentence in anger, in response to a news item provided by my friend. The response was in anger so don't take it as a true caseEmotion: smile.

Regards and thanks
"gone to the dogs" is a fixed expression. You can't change it in any way,* irrespective of what general grammatical rules might tell you.

*Edit: Well, you can change the tense, as in "going to the dogs".