We present a general definition of damage spreading in a pair of models. Using this general framework, one can define damage spreading in an objective manner that does not depend on the particular dynamic procedure that is being used. The formalism can be used for any spin-model or cellular automaton, with sequential or parallel update rules. At this point we present its application to the Domany-Kinzel cellular automaton in one dimension, this being the simplest model in which damage spreading has been found and studied extensively. We show that the active phase of this model consists of three subphases characterized by different damage-spreading properties.