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Since the inside box spring rail won't be seen I'd go with counter sunk #12 brass or SST 2 1/2" screws every 10". They'll pull and hold the 2 pieces together, nothing like course screw threads for gripage.

The hardest dowel stock I can get is birch, dowels work great when they interlock by crossing through both pieces like tenons.

If you're adamant on doweling I'd still use some course thread wood screws to hold it together.
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